GOP state Auditor John Dougall leads his Democratic challenger, Mike Mitchell, by 20 percentage points, a new UtahPolicy poll shows.
But Dougall, a former Utah House member who has made waves over the last four years by expanding the kind of audits his office conducts, still is not over 50 percent in the new survey by Dan Jones & Associates.
Jones finds if the election were today:
Dougall is favored by 46 percent of statewide voters.
Constitutional Party candidate Richard Proctor has 7 percent.
And 28 percent don’t know.
Democrats have not held either of the offices in years.
And generally speaking, voters don’t really know who the state treasurer or auditor is, but vote by political party.
That is why Hansen and Mitchell get 26 percent support – about the level of Democrats statewide, previous polling by Jones shows.
Damschen is not known at all. He was deputy treasurer to Richard Ellis, who resigned his post a year ago to take a more secure type job in the state’s nonprofit higher education investment plan.
Damschen was appointed treasurer by GOP Gov. Gary Herbert, and he beat Merrill Cook, a former U.S. House member, in the state GOP convention this spring to be his party’s nominee this election.
It must be a bit of a disappointment to Dougall – who has been a fairly high-profile auditor by previous standards – that so few Utahns know him after four years in office and several years in the Utah House.
Still, historically speaking, over the last 30 years Republican auditors and treasurers have been elected and re-elected without much effort – after winning their party’s nomination.
Utah is a very red state, and Jones finds that among Republicans:
71 percent favor Dougall.
And 65 percent favor Damschen.
That should be enough to push them into office come November.
83 percent of Democrats favor Mitchell.
And 79 percent support Hansen, a former Utah House member from Ogden.
If Hansen or Mitchell got a huge percentage of political independents, they could close the gap.
But for now they don’t see those numbers; Jones finds:
Dougall outpolls Mitchell, 31-26 percent of independents, with 32 percent undecided.
Hansen tops Damschen among independents, 29-21 percent, but 39 percent of independents are undecided, and many may lean Republican in this race, knowing little about the Democrat.
Jones polled 858 likely voters from July 18 to Aug. 4. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.34 percent.