Burgess Owens leads a tight, four-way race for the GOP nomination in 4th Congressional District

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Former NFL player Burgess Owens leads a tight race for the GOP nomination in Utah’s 4th Congressional district according to a new UtahPolicy.com/KUTV 2 News survey.

Owens leads three other candidates in the poll of likely Republican voters conducted by Y2 Analytics. The winner of the GOP nomination in the June 30th primary election will take on incumbent Rep. Ben McAdams in November.

According to the survey, Owens has 38 percent support among likely Republican primary voters. Former KSL radio talk show host Jay McFarland is second with 28 percent. State Rep. Kim Coleman, who won the delegate vote at last month’s Republican state convention was in third place with 23 percent. Businessman and former fundraiser for Mitt Romney tallied 13 percent support. 

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The survey did have an 8.1 percent margin of error, meaning the race is still essentially a toss-up with just over a month to go before election day.

Coleman was the only candidate to eschew the signature path to appear on the ballot, while Owens, McFarland and Christensen each gathered the 7,000 signatures to secure a spot in the June primary.

None of the candidates have advertised on television so far during this race, but Owens and Coleman have launched digital campaigns. However, Owens is a frequent guest on Fox News channel, which is likely helping with his name ID among voters.

All four of the Republican candidates are cash poor heading into the primary election. According to the most recent Federal Election Commission reports, Coleman led the way with just over $115,000 in cash available prior to the state convention. Owens reported just over $90,000. McFarland had $32,000 and Christensen had just $4,400 in campaign cash. Democrat Ben McAdams is sitting on a pile of cash, reporting more than $2 million in the bank and no primary election opponent to fend off.

Coleman has been trying to position herself as the conservative in the race, rolling out several high-profile endorsements from leading conservative figures. That strategy does not appear to be working for her. She only gets 24 percent support from “strongly conservative” voters in our poll and finishes last with 15 percent support from those who say they are “moderately conservative.” Meanwhile, Owens pulls in 41 percent of the “strongly conservative” vote and McFarland gets 38 percent of the “moderately conservative.” 

Male voters are mostly split between McFarland and Owens, with 39 percent backing McFarland and 31 percent giving their support to Owens. But, women voters prefer Owens, with 41 percent saying they would cast a ballot for him. 

There is a significant gender gap in McFarland’s support that we don’t see with other candidates. 39 percent of men back him, but only 18 percent of women do.

Owens does quite well with religious voters, pulling in 40 percent from “very active” members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and 50 percent from “less active” LDS congregants. Among “inactive” members of the LDS Church, McFarland does best with 74 percent support. 

Coleman’s highest level of support comes from voters who have attended vocational or technical school. 52 percent of that group says she is their choice in the primary election. There are some significant splits in support for the candidates among different educational levels:

  • 81 percent of high school graduates preferred McFarland.
  • 46 percent of voters who had some college education backed Owens as did 33 percent of college graduates.
  • A whopping 68 percent of those who held a post-graduate degree were in Owens’ camp.

Y2 Analytics surveyed 148 likely GOP primary voters in the 4th Congressional District from May 16-18, 2020, with a margin of error +/- 8.1 percent.