Polling by UtahPolicy.com has shown that U.S. Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, is in a close re-election race with Democratic challenger Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams.
A recent Dan Jones & Associates poll on the race finds Love leading overall, 49-43 percent, with 8 percent “don’t know” – the survey having a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent.
So McAdams is within striking distance.
McAdams’ own internal campaign poll shows him in a statistical tie with Love. And Love’s spokesperson said her internal polling shows her with a lead more like the UtahPolicy.com survey.
Now an analysis by UtahPolicy on several major issues facing the nation, including the popularity of GOP President Donald Trump, shows that Love has a trickier route to her 4th District re-election than would a statewide GOP candidate, like U.S. Senate wannabe Mitt Romney, or the Republican incumbents in Utah’s three other U.S. House seats.
On the question of whether the United States is headed in the right or wrong direction, 4th District voters say wrong direction, 52-42 percent.
But 3rd District voters believe the country is actually headed in the right direction, 48-47 percent.
That’s a 10-percentage point difference in the 4th District that McAdams could exploit.
On Trump’s approval rating, 4th District voters disapprove of him, 52-47 percent.
But statewide, Trump’s disapproval rating is 50-48 percent – another area where McAdams could pry open a bit of a lead in his more-moderate district.
Statewide, Utahns disapprove of the job Congress is doing, 67-29 percent.
But in the 4th District, voters disapprove of Congress, 70-25 percent.
Not a huge difference, but another opening for McAdams.
Utahns are really against building a wall along the U.S./Mexican border if taxpayer funds go toward its construction – something Trump has been pushing again recently.
Beehive State voters oppose it, 58-38 percent.
But 4th District voters reject the idea, 68-38 percent – a 10-percentage point greater difference in McAdams favor.
Last September Love wrote an op-ed in The Salt Lake Tribune on immigration, among other things she called for greater security on the border, but didn’t mention a wall.
In short, the differences in the 4th District show Love needs to stay away from Trump – it’s doubtful he’ll be campaigning for her here – even to the point of perhaps missing any opportunities to be seen and photographed with the president this year.
On the positive side for Love, the recent Jones’ survey finds that across the state, Utahns want Republicans to retain control of Congress, 52-27 percent.
And inside of the 4th District, Love’s constituents want to keep GOP congressional control, 52-28 percent – nearly the same.
So for Love, it’s push her GOP label while trying to distance herself from Trump himself, certainly, and pointing out where she has not stood lock-step with the U.S. House’s Republican majority.
Jones interviewed 609 adults from Feb. 9-16. The survey has a statewide margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent and a margin of error inside the 4th District of 7.7 percent.