A new poll shows all three of the Republicans vying for the GOP nomination in the special election in Utah's 3rd District leading Democrat Kathie Allen, but only Provo Mayor John Curtis gets a majority of support.
A new poll from Dan Jones and Associates gauges a hypothetical general election matchup between Allen and each of the three Republicans running, Curtis, Chris Herrod and Tanner Ainge.
Curtis leads Allen 52-25%.
Herrod leads Allen 40-32%
Ainge is ahead of Allen 43-27%
A previous survey showed Curtis had a slight lead over both Herrod and Ainge in the three-way August primary, but nearly half of all voters are undecided.
It's pretty much a foregone conclusion that whoever wins the August GOP primary will win the special election in November. Utah's 3rd District rated the 16th most Republican in the nation according to the Cook Partisan Voting Index. Donald Trump won the district by 18 points in 2016, but Mitt Romney defeated Barack Obama by 59-points in 2012. It would likely take a miracle for a Democrat to win. Jason Chaffetz, who resigned from the seat last month, won his last four elections by nearly 50-points.
The new poll suggests that Allen would lose straight up to Curtis, but might have an easier time against either Herrod or Ainge. Ainge, a political newcomer, is not well known among 3rd District voters, while Herrod, a favorite of many right-wingers in the district, has been out of elected office since 2012. He ran for U.S. Senate in 2012, losing in the GOP convention. He challenged Sen. Curt Bramble in 2016 but lost in the GOP primary.
Allen raised a ton of money when Chaffetz was still in office, raking in more than a half-million in donations, mostly from outside of Utah, after Chaffetz committed a series of well-publicizing gaffes, most famously suggesting that Americans should pay for health care instead of "buying a new iPhone." That money should help Allen's chances as most of the Democrats who have run for this seat in recent years have been woefully underfunded, but it will take a lot more than money for her to win in this Republican stronghold.
The internal numbers from the poll show Democrats would be willing to cross party lines and vote for Curtis over Allen, which is not good news for the Democratic nominee. Democrats would stay loyal to Allen against the other two Republicans. Even Republicans are more sure of their support for Curtis than the other candidates.
Republican voters would go for Curtis over Allen 75-3%. 13% of Democrats say they would support Curtis over Allen, while 78% of Democrats in the 3rd District like Allen. Independent voters are nearly evenly divided between Curtis and Allen, with 33% picking Allen and 32% behind Curtis. 25% of independents are undecided.
Republicans favor Ainge over Allen 66-4%, while Democrats like Allen 90-0%. Independent voters pick Allen over Ainge 33-27%, while 31% are undecided.
Chris Herrod is favored by Republicans over Allen 64-8%. Democrats do not like Herrod at all, opting for Allen 93-0%. Independents would pick Allen over Herrod 40-25%.
It would take a massive stretch of the imagination to think that Allen would be able to beat any of the three Republicans in the race right now. However, the poll does show that there is an opening, however small, for Allen to make some political hay against either Ainge or Herrod.
The poll also shows that voters in the 3rd CD would be more hesitant to vote for Herrod or Ainge in November than they would be voting for Curtis.
The Dan Jones & Associates survey was conducted June 23 - July 5, 2017, among 400 registered voters in Utah's 3rd Congressional District. It has a margin of Error +/- 4.9%.