Poll: Chris Peterson leads crowded Democratic field vying for party’s nomination for governor

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University of Utah professor Christopher Peterson leads the six-person Democratic field for governor according to a new poll.

Peterson gets 38 percent of support in the Democratic race, the survey conducted by Y2 Analytics for UtahPolicy.com and KUTV 2News finds.

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Likely Democratic primary voters then listed their other favorites:

— Nikki R. Pino, gets 28 percent support.

— Neil Hansen, 11 percent.

— Ryan Jackson, 11 percent.

— Zachary Moses,7 percent.

— Archie Williams, 5 percent.

Any registered Democrat or independent can vote in the Democratic primary in late June, so Y2’s sample included those who said they are likely to vote in the Democratic gubernatorial primary — assuming there is one. State party delegates will vote on the candidates first in convention later this month, and it’s possible one could win the nomination outright if he or she gets enough delegate votes.

Whoever ultimately wins the Democratic nomination has a huge task before them.

Utah has not elected a Democrat as governor since the late Scott M. Matheson won re-election in 1980 — forty years ago.

GOP Gov. Gary Herbert is not running again, so the seat is open this year.

But with the heavy likelihood that another Republican will win the office, there’s a healthy group of GOP gubernatorial candidates, including former Gov. Jon Huntsman and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox (who lead among GOP likely primary voters).

Y2 also asked the likely Democratic primary voters who their second or third choices are for the party nomination, assuming their first choice, or even second choice, is not on the ballot.

Second choice is Hansen, a former Democratic Utah House member, with 34 percent support.

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Third choice is Pino, with 29 percent support.

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While several of the GOP gubernatorial candidates will make their primary ballot by getting 28,000 voter signatures, it doesn’t look like any of the Democrats will successfully take that route.

Peterson, Moses and Pino signed up to gather signatures, but as of Monday morning — the deadline is at 5 p.m. Monday — none had handed in any signatures to be verified by the Utah Elections Office.

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Y2 polled 167 likely Democratic primary voters, from March 21-30. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 7.6 percent.