Third Congressional District GOP Rep. John Curtis is clobbering former state Rep. Chris Herrod in their primary election showdown, according to a new UtahPolicy.com conducted by Dan Jones & Associates.
This is the second Republican primary matchup in 10 months for the pair – and the outcome seems headed for the same: A big Curtis win.
Curtis knocked Herrod out in the August 2017 special GOP primary, going on to easily win the seat after former GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz resigned.
A just-completed survey of 3rd District likely Republican voters finds:
-- 65 percent say they would vote for Curtis, the former Provo mayor, if the election were today.
-- Just 18 percent support Herrod.
-- While 17 percent of the GOP voters in the district say they are still undecided.
That’s a rather high “undecided” number considering GOP voters cast ballots for the pair last August, in a special three-way primary election that Curtis won with 43 percent of the vote to Herrod’s 33 percent, and Tanner Ainge’s 24 percent.
Among those 17 percent “undecided” today, Jones found that 24 percent are “leaning” toward Herrod, while 15 percent are “leaning” toward Curtis.
And a large 61 percent of the undecided said they are not leaning toward one or the other candidate, but are truly “undecided” at this point.
At least this year, the 3rd District Republican delegates appear NOT to be totally out of step with rank-and-file GOP voters. Last summer in a special delegate vote Herrod eliminated Curtis in convention. But Curtis had gathered the 7,000 GOP voter signatures under SB54 that assured him a place on the primary ballot – and he walloped Herrod there.
In this past spring’s Republican convention, a new set of delegates actually picked Curtis over Herrod, 59-40 percent. A few more convention votes and Herrod would have been eliminated and Curtis would be the nominee without a primary election.
With little money and still stinging from his 2017 primary defeat, it appears this year Herrod is headed for a second straight primary loss to Curtis, and likely the end of his congressional campaigning career.
While Herrod was the darling of “very conservative” 3rd District Republicans a year ago, the new Jones poll shows:
-- Curtis leads Herrod among “very conservative” Republican voters, 63-20 percent.
So Herrod’s supposed base has abandoned him.
-- Among those who told Jones they are “somewhat conservative” in their political leanings, Curtis leads Herrod, 63-19 percent.
-- There are a few GOP voters in the 3rd District who consider themselves “moderates.” And among that group, Curtis is ahead 78-8 percent over Herrod.
None of this is unexpected, especially in a rematch. It’s hard to take on an incumbent member of Congress. It’s hard for a challenger to raise campaign money, and this new UtahPolicy/Dan Jones poll will not help in that effort.
Who wants to give cash to a candidate who is 47 percentage points down with three weeks of campaigning left before the June 26 primary election?
Only Republicans can vote in the 3rd District race, so Jones only polled Republicans.
If you give Herrod ALL of the 3rd District undecided Republicans, AND you give Herrod the 5 percent margin of error in the poll, Herrod is still behind Curtis by a healthy 25 percentage points.
Unless something very strange happens over the next several weeks, the outcome now appears clear.
Herrod was a golden boy of the Utah Tea Party movement back in 2008 and 2010.
But Jones finds that among those Republicans who said they favor Tea Party ideals, Curtis leads Herrod, 61-22 percent.
Both men are active in their LDS faith.
Among those who said they are “very active” Mormons, Curtis leads, 68-16 percent.
Finally, politicos suggested that one reason Curtis beat Herrod so handily in last year’s special primary election is because he showed well in Salt Lake County – which is more moderate than Utah County eastside GOP voters.
However, in his latest poll, Jones finds that in Utah County portion of the 3rd District, Curtis leads Herrod, 61-22 percent.
In the eastside Salt Lake County portion of the 3rd District, Curtis is ahead, 69-16 percent.
Jones polled 403 Republicans in the 3rd District from May 15-31. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.