What factors are driving 3rd CD GOP voters?

The 3rd District GOP primary election may come down to simple likeability.

The latest UtahPolicy.com survey of voters in the district showed Provo Mayor John Curtis with an 8-point lead over former Utah Rep. Chris Herrod and a 16-point lead over Tanner Ainge.

That same poll asked voters what issue or reason caused them to either vote for or lean toward voting for a particular candidate. The most common answer dealt with a candidate’s likeability, followed by experience, then they have the same ideology.

Among respondents:

  • 19% pegged likeability as their biggest factor.
  • 18% said the candidate’s experience was the top issue for them.
  • 15% said they would vote for one of the three candidates because their ideology was a match for their own.


There was a sharp drop off in reasons after that. 6% said they would vote for their chosen candidate because they’ve “heard good things about them.” 2% said they would vote based on the candidate’s position on taxes, while another 2% said they liked that the candidate was an “outsider.” 37% of respondents gave a reason other than those listed above.

Most of the advertising flooding the airwaves and mailboxes in Utah’s 3rd District is focused on which candidate is either the most conservative or not sufficiently conservative enough to hold office. These results suggest that a candidate’s personal appeal is equally if not more important to their political prospects.

The likeability factor mostly extends across the ideological spectrum:

  • Among those who self-identify as “strong Republicans” the most popular reason for voting for a candidate was likeability (18%), followed by ideology (17%) and experience (17%).
  • 30% of Republicans who said they were “not so strong” ideologically said experience was their top issue, followed by likeability (22%) and ideology (15%)
  • Independents who “lean Republican,” said likeability was their #1 issue (20%), followed by experience (17%) and ideology (16%).

The Dan Jones & Associates survey was conducted August 2, 3, and 8, 2017 among 447 registered Utah voters in Utah’s 3rd Congressional District with a margin of error of 4.6%.