Republican Burgess Owens, a former NFL player, left, and Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, who are running for McAdams’ seat in the 4th Congressional District. | Kristin Murphy and Colter Peterson, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s only Democrat in Congress, Rep. Ben McAdams, holds a slight lead over Republican Burgess Owens in one of the nation’s most competitive races, according to a new Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll released Monday.
McAdams is up by 4 percentage points, with 45% of likely voters in the 4th Congressional District saying they’d vote for the freshman if the election were today, compared to 41% for Owens, 2% for Libertarian John Molnar, 1% for United Utah Party candidate Jonia Broderick and 11% who weren’t sure.
The poll, conducted Sept. 7-12 by independent pollster Scott Rasmussen of 800 likely voters in the 4th Congressional District for the Deseret News and the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
“It’s a very close and competitive race,” Rasmussen said. “It looks like McAdams has a bit of an edge, not surprising for an incumbent but the challenge for him or any Democrat is that we’re talking about Utah,” a state largely dominated by the GOP.
Still, Rasmussen said, there are some uncertainties about the Republican vote in Utah that could end up determining who represents the 4th District, which includes portions of Salt Lake and Utah counties as well as rural areas of the state.
“There are more Republicans with qualms about the president in Utah than other places,” the pollster said. President Donald Trump took Utah — a state that hasn’t voted for a Democrat for president since 1964 — with just 45.5% of the vote in 2016, his lowest support level in any of the states he won.
Decreased enthusiasm among Republicans for their presidential candidate, Rasmussen said, could make the difference for McAdams, a former Salt Lake County mayor who defeated two-term GOP Rep. Mia Love in 2018 by less than 700 votes.
Owens, a former NFL player, author and frequent Fox News guest, could benefit if voters start feeling better about Trump between now and November, he said. That could be related to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic or even some new revelation about the Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden.
“That’s going to be the question. It looks right now like this race is competitive. If the national political environment shifts in one direction or the other, that will probably directly impact this race. But we just don’t know,” Rasmussen said.
More voters have a favorable opinion of McAdams than they do Owens, 52% to 45%. But the congressman is viewed unfavorably by more votes than his opponent, 36%-33%. Just 12% of voters said they weren’t sure what they think about McAdams, compared to 21% who were unsure about their opinion of Owens.
McAdams’ campaign manager, Andrew Roberts, said the poll shows voters see the …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Utah News