SALT LAKE CITY — Republican Rep. Mia Love has just a three-point lead over Democratic Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams in the 4th Congressional District, according to a new UtahPolicy.com poll.
With Love at 49 percent support and McAdams close behind at 46 percent in the poll for the online political news source released Friday afternoon, the race that's already considered the most competitive in the state appears to be getting tighter.
Because the poll of 400 likely voters in the district, conducted by Dan Jones & Associates Aug. 22 to Sept. 6, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent points, the results suggest it's too close to call.
The poll follows a Utah Debate Commission survey announced earlier this week that gave Love just over a nine-point advantage over McAdams, 47.5 percent points to 38.3 percent points.
A previous UtahPolicy.com poll in June found just a four-point difference between Love and McAdams. McAdams' campaign recently said its internal polling showed him within two points of the two-term congresswoman.
"Every public survey and our internal polling show Rep. Love winning," said Scott Riding, managing partner of Y2 Analytics, which has served as Love's pollsters since 2014.
Riding declined to share Love's internal numbers, but said they are closer to the debate commission results than the latest poll. "We see this race moving her way. So this (UtahPolicy.com poll) is at odds with what we have."
Andrew Roberts, McAdams' campaign manager, said he hopes the Love campaign believes she's further ahead than the latest polls shows. "It makes my job easier," he said.
The UtahPolicy.com poll "mirrors what we're seeing internally. It also shows what we've known all along — the independents who are going to decide this race prefer Ben's bipartisan approach to problem-solving," Roberts said.
Unaffiliated voters backed McAdams over Love in the poll 62 percent to 31 percent, according to UtahPolicy.com. There are about three times as many unaffiliated voters as Democrats in Utah, a state dominated by the GOP.
Love lost her first bid for the then-new seat in 2012 to longtime Rep. Jim Matheson, the last Democrat from Utah to serve in Congress. She went on to win in 2014 after Matheson retired, and again in 2016.
The race has been labeled a toss-up by RealClearPolitics.com, while other national ratings give Love the edge. Both campaigns started airing TV commercials last month.
University of Utah political science professor Matthew Burbank said until the campaign heats up, it's too soon to say what voters will do.
"It's not clear to me there's any obvious trend here," Burbank said. "In all honesty, I don't think there's a whole lot going on in that race that would be making anybody be changing their mind."