Nearly half of likely voters undecided in 1st District race

Recent polling by Dan Jones & Associates indicates that the race in Utah's 1st Congressional District is wide open with nearly half of likely voters still making up their minds about the GOP candidates.

SALT LAKE CITY – The race for the Republican nomination to replace outgoing U.S. Rep Rob Bishop appears to be anybody’s ballgame, with polling results all over the map and a near majority of 1st District voters possibly still undecided about the candidates.

Polling results announced in mid-May seemed to indicate the Davis County Commissioner Bob Stevenson was far in the lead for the GOP nod in primary balloting set for June 30.

“Not so fast,” says rival candidate Blake David Moore of Salt Lake City. Recent polling commissioned by his campaign tells a completely different story.

In a mid-May survey by Y2 Analytics for UtahPolicy.com and KUTV-2 News, Stevenson was favored by 38 percent of Utahns likely to vote in the Republican Primary on June 30.

In the same polling, rival candidates Kaysville Mayor Katie Witt garnered the support of 26 percent of likely voters, former Utah agriculture commissioner Kerry Gibson received 20 percent and Moore got 16 percent.

But a recent survey by Dan Jones and Associates suggested that voter support for Stevenson and Moore was tied at 16 percent, with Gibson at 13 percent and Witt trailing at 7 percent. But the real blockbuster datum in that polling is that 48 percent of First District voters still haven’t made up their minds with less than three weeks to go until the GOP primary.

The wide gulf between those survey results is likely the result of differing methodologies.

The fine print of the earlier survey by Y2 Analytics confirms that their pollsters counted only responses from voters who had firmly decided which candidate they favored. The Y2 Analytics findings were also based on a relatively small sampling of 127 likely voters in the GOP primary with a huge 8.7 percent margin of error.

The margin of error in broader-based polling efforts is commonly about 4 percent.

The findings from the Dan Jones polling were based on survey responses from 417 likely GOP primary voters, according to Andrew Rummings, who is Moore’s deputy campaign manager. That polling was conducted June 2 to 9, with a 4.8 percent margin of error.

Rummings added that Moore’s campaign was anticipating a rise in their candidate’s name recognition in response to a $100,000 investment in social media presence and statewide advertising since mid-May.

The winner of the Republican primary will face off against the winner of the Democratic primary in the November general election. The Democratic candidates on the primary ballot are Darren Parry of Logan and Jamie Cheek of Ogden.

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