Bob Bernick’s Notebook: Running Out of Time

Fourth Congressional District Democrat Doug Owens goes into Tuesday’s Election Day 5 percentage points down to Republican Mia Love.

That’s the hard line results of the latest UtahPolicy poll conducted by Dan Jones & Associates.

That’s good news for Love; bad news for Owens.


Because Owens had been closing on Love – other of our polls show – but just not fast enough. And if this final poll had him one or two points down, or even tied, momentum could carry him over.

Momentum is important in any political race.

And while it’s with Owens – against Love – our latest poll shows that Republicans in the 4thDistrict are wising up to the ramifications of a new Democrat winning that seat.

While “top line” poll results are important, it’s the demographics – what’s really happening among the different voter groups – that tell the tale.

Jones finds that Owens’ momentum has slowed among GOP voters.

In an Oct. 9 survey in the 4th, Jones found that Love had 79 percent of the GOP vote to Owens 12 percent of the vote.

In the latest survey, Love has 78 percent of the GOP vote to Owens’ 16 percent.

Conservative Democrat Jim Matheson, who is retiring this year, routinely got 20 percent or more of the Republican vote.

Owens needs to do at least that well next Tuesday to have a real chance.

Earlier this month, Owens was getting 50 percent of the politically independent vote.

As I wrote then, he needs upwards of 60 percent of the independent vote to win.

Well, Jones found in our new poll that 57 percent of independents favor Owens.

Does Owens have a chance?


It all boils down now to turnout.

Can Love, which Dave Hansen as her campaign manager, get her supporters to the pollsTuesday, and to cast early ballots before then?

Same for Owens.

Hansen told me on Thursday that every day his folks are checking 4th District early voter counts. Of course, it is private whom someone votes for.

But it is public information whether an individual HAS voted early – either through the mail or in person at the various early voting polling places.

By learning those early voters’ names, one can take those voters off of turn-out-the-vote caller lists, and you don’t have to mail them a weekend piece of literature.

Gives you more time and effort to concentrate on those supporters who plan on votingTuesday.

Owens said his campaign has not been matching up those lists – as he’s spending his time and money on other, more traditional, turn out the vote efforts.

Another interesting tidbit:

Matheson used to traditionally do well with female voters.

And Jones finds in his latest poll that Owens has finally beaten Love in one category – women.

Owens leads 46-45 percent among women in the 4th District.

Love, who of course is a woman, as well as a mother, leads among men, 52-45 percent.

That 7-point gap is hurting Owens.

Thursday morning both candidates appeared on KSL Radio’s Doug Wright Show. Wright said he took calls, emails and text messages from hundreds of folks who wanted to ask the pair questions.

And many were about gun rights and the 2nd Amendment.

Love is a concealed weapons permit holder and has guns in her home. The National Rifle Association endorses her.

Owens said he has eight guns in his house and enjoys skeet shooting with his sons.

Both said they support 2nd Amendment rights, with Love adding she supports the “individual” right to bear arms.

Owens likely has to do better with white, Mormon men to win this race – kind of funny because he is one.

So, Owens trailed Love by 12 percentage points back in early August, our first 4thCongressional District poll showed.

Then she led him by 9 percentage points on Oct. 9, Jones found.

And now in a survey that ended Wednesday night – Oct. 29 – she leads Owens by 5 percentage points.

Clearly, he is closing on her.

She is still under 50 percent; which means Owens has a chance.

The latest poll has shows 6 percent undecided with just a few days left. Three percent favor one of the other three minor party candidates in the race, Jones found.

Right now, I’d have to say it looks like Love is going to win – barring any last-minute foul-ups, like Love sending out a really nasty piece of literature over the weekend or Owens getting hit by a bus while doing a candidate “honk-and-wave.”

Reports are trickling in that there’s some negative ad buys by outside groups coming this weekend.

But unless they are really profane I don’t see them swinging the election one way or the other.

It’s all about turnout, and Hansen, like always, has put together a good grassroots campaign, I’m told.

Right now it is still Love’s race to lose, as it has been all along.