New poll: Love, McAdams locked in very tight race

The tight race in Utah’s 4th U.S. House District has gotten even tighter, a new poll shows.

GOP Rep. Mia Love leads Democratic Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams by just 4 percentage points – 47-43 percent.

And 10 percent are still undecided.

But the new poll by Dan Jones & Associates has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent – so statistically it could be a tie.

McAdams could even be ahead a bit, or Love could have a larger lead among likely 4th District voters.


One good showing for McAdams in the new poll: He is doing very well among political independents – a key demographic voting bloc if he is to win.

Neither candidate has been doing major media advertising buys, saving their campaign cash for later this summer and fall.

So these results could certainly change over the next five months of the campaign

Jones finds demographic numbers that can be interpreted as good, or bad, for either candidate.

Some of the numbers:

Jones asked the 10 percent undecided if they “lean” toward Love or McAdams.

  • 28 percent said they “lean” toward Love.
  • Only 12 percent said McAdams.
  • But 60 percent of that 10 percent said they truly don’t know who they may vote for in November.

As expected, Love does well among Republicans, McAdams among Democrats:

  • 79 percent of Republicans said they support Love, a two-term incumbent.
  • 10 percent of Republicans said they support McAdams, the Democrat.
  • 98 percent of Democrats support McAdams.
  • Only 2 percent of Democrats favor Love.

But McAdams’ biggest demographic number in this survey is this:

  • 61 percent of political independents, who don’t belong to a party, said they would vote for McAdams if the election were today.
  • Only 26 percent of independents said they would choose Love.
  • 13 percent of independents said they are undecided.

Historically speaking, Democrats who have won U.S. House seats in Utah – like former Rep. Jim Matheson and the late Rep. Wayne Owens – had to carry 60 percent of the independents or more.

McAdams is right there with 61 percent.

And the 10 percent of Republicans supporting Democrat McAdams is also good – although he may need a bigger number than that to unseat Love.

Interestingly enough, Love has problems with women:

  • Men like Love over McAdams, 51-43 percent, a solid lead.
  • But McAdams has the slightest of leads among women, 43-42 percent.

Both McAdams and Love are active Mormons. But Love is doing much better among that important voting group:

  • 66 percent of self-described “very active” Mormons – those who pay tithing and have temple recommends – favor Love.
  • Only 21 percent of good Mormons support McAdams.

McAdams may well have to campaign on his good Mormon status in the weeks ahead – although that is always a double-edged sword in Utah politics.

Love also leads among those who told Jones they are “somewhat active” in the Mormon Church, 56-36 percent.

Outside of those religious categories, McAdams takes over:

  • Among those who said they used to be Mormons, but no longer follow the faith, McAdams leads Love, 53-37 percent.
  • Among Catholics, McAdams is ahead, 83-17 percent.
  • Protestants prefer McAdams, 48-45 percent.
  • Those of other faiths like McAdams, 76-19 percent.
  • And those with no religion like the mayor, 76-17 percent.

Love has gone after McAdams a bit on the abortion issue – and that may be one reason she is so close to McAdams among Protestants, which include born again, anti-abortion voters.

McAdams must hope that younger Utahns in the 4th District get involved this year – for he is way ahead among them:

  • Those ages 18-24 favor him, 56-37 percent.
  • 25-34 year olds like him, 56-31 percent.
  • 35-44 year olds, 44-36 percent for McAdams.

But then the “oldies” take over, and they like Love:

  • 45-54 years old, 49-42 percent for Love.
  • 55-64 years old, 47-41 percent for Love over McAdams.
  • 65 and older really go for her, 61-36 percent.

McAdams is already going bald. He may have to hunch over and ramble on a bit more to appeal to that senior crowd.

Finally, the 4th District is on the central-to-west side of Salt Lake County, and the west side of Utah County.

McAdams – well liked as Salt Lake County mayor – is doing OK in his home county, leading Love, 47-43 percent, with 10 percent undecided.

But he may need more voters there.

For Love leads McAdams in Utah County, 70-18 percent. A real killer for him in that very red county.

Love has healthy majorities among the “very conservative” and “somewhat conservative” voters in the district.

But McAdams does get 24 percent (a fourth) of the “somewhat conservative” vote.

That’s not a bad showing, and watch for Love to pound home conservative/Republican messages to her base as the election nears.

Still, she needs to do this without tying herself to GOP President Donald Trump, who is not that well-liked in the 4th District, recent Jones polling shows.

Jones polled 405 adult likely voters from May 15 to June 5. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.