Just days before the Salt Lake City mayoral election, a new Dan Jones & Associates poll shows Jackie Biskupski has a slight lead over Ralph Becker, but the incumbent looks to be gaining on the challenger.
The survey finds Biskupski with a slim 2-point advantage over Becker – 48-46%. 5% say they are still undecided. That is within the survey’s margin of error of +/- 3.82%. The poll was conducted among likely voters over a six-night period (October 19, 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28).
Among those who have already cast a ballot, Biskupski has a 7-point lead over Becker, 52-45%. Becker leads by the same margin with those who haven’t voted yet, 48-41%. Jones says that suggests higher turnout numbers would favor Becker.
“At 50 percent turnout, Biskupski should keep her lead. If it goes to 55 percent, it could go either way. But if it reaches 60 percent voter participation Becker will probably win,” says Jones.
Jones also says the numbers are trending ever-so-slightly toward Becker right now, meaning he’s making up ground on Biskupski as we get closer to election day. Biskupski’s lead with those who have already voted has decreased over the past few days.
“This indicates that Biskupski’s base could be passionate and voting early, but Becker has an advantage with incumbent recognition. His campaign is making up ground as more people vote.”
Jones notes Biskupski’s favorability rating is 11-points higher than Becker’s (65-56%). That correlates with her lead among those who have already voted.
If he’s going to boost turnout numbers, Becker needs Republicans to return their mail-in ballots. He has a big lead among GOP likely voters (55-38%). Biskupski wins independent voters 54-38%. The two candidates are virtually tied among Democratic voters – 49-48% for Biskupski.
LDS voters could also provide a boost for Becker on election day.
– Those who say they are “very active” members of the LDS Church favor Becker 56-36%.
– “Somewhat active” Mormons gravitate towards Becker 53-47%.
– Inactive Mormons choose Biskupski 52-35%.
Male voters lean toward Biskupski by a 10-point margin (52-42%), while females prefer Becker 49-45%.
The wild card in this race is vote-by-mail. Voters have to mail their ballots in by November 2. A few polling locations will be open on November 3 for those who don’t want to use the mail option. Jones says, because of the mail-in factor, he is expecting turnout to be higher than normal. However, because of the unique nature of this election, the results are proving to be very hard to predict.