Provo Mayor John Curtis has a lead over his Republican rivals in the race for the GOP nomination in the 3rd Congressional District, but the race is still up for grabs with about a month to go before the primary election.
A new UtahPolicy.com survey from Dan Jones & Associates finds 29% of self-identified Republicans in the 3rd District say they'll support Curtis in the August 15 primary. 12% told us they would vote for former Utah Rep. Chris Herrod while 10% plan to cast a ballot for political newcomer Tanner Ainge. However, a whopping 49% of Republicans say they are undecided in the race.
Voting in the August 15 primary is open only to registered Republicans. The election will be conducted primarily by mail-in ballot. Those ballots will be sent to voters on July 25.
Overall, Republicans are a little more settled among 3rd District Republicans than 3rd District voters overall. Among all voters in the 3rd CD, Curtis scores 27%, while Herrod is at 9% and Ainge is at 7%. 57% of all of all voters in the 3rd District are undecided.
While Curtis' lead is hardly secure according to these numbers, they also suggest that Ainge and Herrod are running out of time to make their case to voters. In a three-way race, 40% could be enough to win the nomination. If the undecided voters are split evenly between the three candidates, Curtis will win going away. Both Ainge and Herrod need to win more than half of the undecideds to defeat Curtis.
While it does not point to which candidate has a clear advantage in the August primary, it does help us understand that Curtis has much better name recognition than Herrod or Ainge at this point in the campaign. With less than a month to go until primary election day, that name recognition could be crucial in deciding the winner.
That high number of undecided voters illustrates that turnout is going to be key. The candidate that does the best job getting their voters to the polls or, in this case, mailing their ballots back stands the best chance of winning.
Herrod won his place on the GOP ballot with a stunning win at the special GOP nominating convention last month. He prevailed over more favored candidates like State Senators Deidre Henderson and Margaret Dayton and Rep. Brad Daw. Curtis was defeated at the GOP nominating convention, but he secured a spot in the primary by gathering signatures. Ainge did not take the traditional delegate/convention route, instead only collecting signatures to get on the ballot.
The survey was conducted by Dan Jones & Associates from June 23 to July 5, 2017, among 199 self-identified Republicans in Utah's 3rd Congressional District. It has a margin of error +/- 7%. Among all voters, Jones polled 400 registered voters with a margin of error +/- 4.9%.