SALT LAKE CITY — Two new polls show Republican Attorney General Sean Reyes comfortably ahead of Democratic challenger Charles Stormont heading into the election next week.
Reyes has a 47 percent to 27 percent lead over Stormont, according a survey conducted by the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy at Brigham Young University.
Meantime, a UtahPolicy.com poll shows Reyes with an even wider margin over Stormont, 57 percent to 22 percent.
Both polls were released Monday, eight days before the Nov. 4 general election. Early in-person voting in many counties started last week and ends Friday.
Reyes and Stormont are running to fill the remaining two years on the term of Republican John Swallow, who resigned last December and now faces felony public corruption charges. Gov. Gary Herbert named Reyes to replace Swallow.
The winner of the Stormont-Reyes race faces election again in 2016.
In light of the accusations that enveloped Swallow and his GOP predecessor Mark Shurtleff, some observers saw the chance for a Democrat to grab the attorney general's office for the first time since 2000.
But the new polls indicate otherwise, though both showed a fairly high percentage of Utahns still undecided.
In the BYU survey, 18 percent were undecided, while UtahPolicy.com has 13 percent.
Stormont said that signals people still have concerns about what is or isn't being done in the attorney general's office since Reyes took over for Swallow.
"As we travel the state, people really want to know how we're going to fix the office," he said. "I think our reform message is something that will resonate, and we're going to work hard in the coming week to make sure that message is heard."
Reyes campaign consultant Alan Crooks said the UtahPolicy.com poll results closely match that of the campaign's internal polling and the BYU survey "still shows that we're dominating the race."
The closer voters are paying attention to the race, the wider the margin for Reyes, he said.
Stormont said he found the discrepancy between the surveys "very interesting."
The two statewide polls used different methods to arrive at their results.
BYU researchers at the elections and democracy center emailed surveys to 6,915 voters recruited at exit polls dating back to 2004. Of that number, 776 responded from Oct 15 to Oct. 22. They estimate the survey has a margin of error of about plus or minus 3.4 percent.
Dan Jones & Associates conducted the UtahPolicy.com poll of 827 "active" voters by telephone Oct. 20-23. It has an error margin of plus or minus 3.4 percent.
Among third-party candidates, Libertarian W. Andrew McCullough fared best, getting 4 percent in both polls.
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: dennisromboy; DNewsPolitics