State Attorney General David Wilkinson has maintained a comfortable lead over Democratic challenger Paul Van Dam despite a shrinking number of undecided voters.
Meanwhile, Democrat Art Monson has increased his lead in the race for state treasurer, and Republican incumbent Tom Allen has widened his lead in the race for state auditor, according to the latest poll by Dan Jones & Associates for the Deseret News and KSL-TV.The poll, conducted Sept. 6-8, showed if the election were held today, 43 percent of the voters would choose Wilkinson and 32 percent would select Van Dam. Of the 903 people surveyed at random, 24 percent said they did not know who they would vote for. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.
Both attorney general candidates were cautious about the poll results Monday. Wilkinson, seeking a third term, said he was encouraged that undecided voters appear to be choosing sides. The last poll, conducted in August, showed Wilkinson also leading by 11 points, but 28 percent of those surveyed were undecided.
Wilkinson said he puts more trust in this poll than in previous ones because voters tend to make final
oting decisions after Labor Day.
"This is the first poll that really matters," Wilkinson said. "People are starting to realize that I'm a conservative and he (Van Dam) is a liberal."
But Wilkinson conceded he may be helped by other high-profile Republican candidates who appear to be doing well in Utah, such as presidential candidate George Bush and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.
"Not a lot of people focus on my race as one of the major ones," Wilkinson said.
Van Dam said a lack of money has kept him from campaigning heavily until now. He will begin campaigning earnestly in upcoming days, he said.
"A two-term incumbent below 45 percent is still a target," Van Dam said. "There still are a lot of undecided people out there."
More than one-third of the voters remain undecided as to who should become the next state treasurer.
The poll showed Monson, who is Salt Lake County's treasurer, leading incumbent state Treasurer Ed Alter 42-27 percent with 31 percent undecided. A poll conducted in August showed Monson leading by only 12 points with 36 percent undecided.
This was the first poll in several months to show Monson's lead increasing. He led by 30 points in April.
Undecided voters are also a factor in the race for state auditor. The poll showed voters favoring Allen over Democrat Arthur Miller, 32-24 percent with 43 percent undecided and 1 percent saying they would vote for someone else.
Allen's lead has doubled since the previous poll, while the number of undecided voters has dwindled by only 6 percent.