Generic congressional ballot suggests competitive race in Utah’s 4th District next year

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In a generic vote, Utah’s lone Democratic U.S. House member, Rep. Ben McAdams, is doing well among his 4th District constituents, a new Analytics poll finds.

Any GOP candidate, incumbent or newcomer, does well in the state’s other three U.S. House districts, Y2 Analytics discovers.

McAdams will take a preliminary vote this week on the Democratic-controlled House’s impeachment inquiry of GOP President Donald Trump.

The poll was conducted before McAdams came out in favor of the official impeachment investigation.

The results show:

  • In the 4th District, 37 percent of voters said they favor the House Republican candidate if the 2020 election were held today.
  • 35 percent said they favor the Democratic candidate (McAdams’ name was not used).
  • 8 percent said they would vote for someone not representing either of the top two parties.
  • 3 percent said they would vote for someone “other” than those above alternatives.
  • And 17 percent said they didn’t know who they would vote for next year.

The question — asking who you would vote for by party, rather than an individual candidate’s name — is known as a generic ballot measurement, meaning it’s aimed at measuring core support for a political party in that area.

Considering that the 4th District is a +13 Republican district — or in a normal year would vote for a Republican candidate by 13 points over a Democratic candidate — the poll’s result is very good news for McAdams, who beat incumbent GOP Rep. Mia Love by less than 700 votes last year.

Even though McAdams’ name was not used in the question, no doubt a number of 4th District voters know he is a Democrat, and they like him.

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The survey results mirror job approval ratings taken by Y2, which show McAdams is more popular in his district than any other federal/state officeholder, except Republican Gov. Gary Herbert.

Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, is retiring from his 1st District next year, considering running for governor.

Reps. Chris Stewart, R-Utah; and John Curtis, R-Utah; are expected to seek re-election in their 2nd and 3rd Districts, respectively.

Whomever gets the GOP nomination in the 1st District — and a number of Republicans have already announced up there — clearly hold a generic lead:

  • 42 percent said they favor the GOP candidate, 21 percent said the Democrat, 15 percent said they would vote for some other party, 2 percent said “other,” and 21 percent didn’t know.
  • Curtis is in good shape: Among 3rd District voters, 46 percent said they like the GOP candidate, 22 percent said the Democrat, 10 percent mentioned another party candidate, 6 percent said “other,” and 16 percent didn’t know.

Stewart faces some special problems in his 2nd District. The seat includes most of Democratic/progressive-leaning Salt Lake City, as well as very Republican areas in Davis County and central and southern Utah.

Stewart lost big in the city last year, but got so many votes in the rest of the district that he easily won re-election.

In the 2nd District as a whole, 45 percent said they favor the Republican candidate, 37 percent said the Democratic candidate, 5 percent said a candidate from some other party, 2 percent said “other” candidate, 11 percent didn’t know.

That’s the lowest “don’t know” of any of the four districts, showing a clear partisan flavor of the electorate.

Also, the 37 percent Democratic vote is the highest of any district, including McAdams’ 4th District.

This indicates a clear partisan split in the 2nd District, voters standing with their party and not likely switching to a different major party candidate.

Stewart is a staunch Trump defender, often appearing on national TV networks defending the president and criticizing Democratic impeachment attempts.