Nearly half of the registered voters surveyed statewide still don't know whether they're going to vote for Richard Ellis or Mark Walker for state treasurer in Tuesday's GOP primary election.

The Deseret News/KSL-TV poll also found that 26 percent of respondents would vote for Walker and 22 percent for Ellis, a difference that's close enough to fall within the margin of error of plus or minus 6 percent.

The poll was conducted June 16-19 by Dan Jones & Associates of 263 registered voters statewide who said they were very or somewhat likely to vote in Tuesday's primary.

The indecision remains for voters despite several weeks of controversy over Ellis' allegations that Walker illegally offered to let him keep his job as chief deputy state treasurer at a much higher salary if he'd drop out of the race.

Walker has denied the allegations, but Ellis continues to push for an investigation.

After Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert, who serves as the state's chief elections officer, said he wouldn't decide until after Tuesday's election whether to turn over the allegations to Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, Ellis took his complaint directly to Shurtleff.

Walker considered responding with allegations that Ellis is misusing state resources in the campaign and attempted to entrap him by soliciting the job offer, but Friday said he would wait until after the election to give his complaint to the attorney general.

Both candidates said they didn't expect so many voters would still be undecided.

Ellis said he shouldn't be surprised because even some of his neighbors don't realize he's running. "I think there are a lot of people out there, despite all the publicity, that aren't paying attention," he said.

Walker reacted with a chuckle.

"To be honest with you, I was cracking up," he said. "The funny thing is, it really makes you realize what a bubble you're in. Obviously, I'm pleased I'm in the lead."

Neither candidate plans to change their last-minute campaign plans. Ellis said he'll run newspaper and radio ads through the election while Walker will send out his third mailer statewide and unveil billboards in Utah and Salt Lake counties.

The poll results are much different than the vote taken at the Republican Party's state convention last month. There, Walker fell just short of the 60 percent of the vote needed to eliminate Ellis from the race.

Ellis said he's counting on a more politically diverse turnout Tuesday, including backing from unaffiliated voters.

"This is a different crowd than we had at convention," he said, adding he hopes the election is at least closer than the convention results.

Walker said he expected Ellis would narrow the gap. "We've been working our tails off even with a pit in our stomach for the last month," Walker said. "We've always felt like this was going to be somewhat of a close race."

Pollster Dan Jones said the controversy may have confused voters.

"They just don't know who to believe," Jones said. "That doesn't give an increase in turnout, it gives an increase in 'turn off.'"


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