Former Gov. Jon Huntsman has pulled into a virtual tie with Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox among likely Republican primary voters according to a new poll.
The Dan Jones & Associates survey obtained by UtahPolicy.com shows Huntsman leading cox among likely GOP voters 32-28%. That is within the poll’s margin of error of +/- 4.0%.
Cox had an 11-point lead over Huntsman (41-29%) in a November UtahPolicy.com/Y2 Analytics survey. That lead has seemingly evaporated as Huntsman officially joined the GOP primary race and began a television advertising campaign. The UtahPolicy.com survey polled registered Utah Republican voters, while the Dan Jones survey polled likely GOP primary voters, so it’s not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison between the two surveys.
Among unaffiliated voters, Huntsman had a sizeable lead over Cox, 35-23%.
The other GOP hopefuls were far behind the two frontrunners, with none of them breaking double-digit support. Provo businessman Jeff Burningham had 6-percent support, former Utah GOP chairman Thomas Wright was at 3-percent, former Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes pulled in 2-percent support and Salt Lake County Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton was at 1 percent.
Retiring Rep. Rob Bishop got 8-percent in the survey, but he announced last week he was joining Wright’s campaign as his running mate.
19% of likely Republican voters were undecided.
The survey also tested a hypothetical GOP primary matchup between Huntsman and Cox. Huntsman enjoys a narrow six-point lead over Cox 53-47%. Independent voters in that potential matchup favor Huntsman by nearly a 2-1 margin 63-37%. The Utah GOP primary in June will be closed, meaning only registered Republicans can cast a ballot. Independent and Democratic voters could potentially cast a ballot in the Republican primary, but only if they register as Republicans.
The poll also looked at the favorability ratings for the potential GOP field. 57% of Utahns viewed Huntsman favorably while just 19% had a negative view of the former Utah governor, giving him a net positive of +38 points.
Cox also enjoyed positive approval ratings, with 43% of Utahns saying they view him favorably and 11% with a negative opinion, giving him a net positive of +32 points. However, nearly half of Utahns (47%) said they either had no opinion of the current Lt. Governor or had not heard of him.
The rest of the Republican field so far is struggling with their name ID among Utah voters.
70% of Utahns said they had no opinion or had not heard about Hughes.
Burningham has been campaigning the longest, meeting with potential voters since last spring, but 76% did not have an opinion or did not know who he is
77% said they were not familiar with Winder Newton.
82% responded they were unfamiliar with Wright.
The Dan Jones survey was conducted January 6-15, 2020 among 604 likely Utah voters. It has a margin of error of 4.0%.