Poll: Weinholtz Struggling with Name Recognition

Mike Weinholtz 01Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mike Weinholtz has a lot of work to do before November’s general election because more than 60% of Utahns have no idea who he is.

 
A new UtahPolicy.com survey conducted by Dan Jones & Associates finds that when asked their impression of Weinholtz, 61% of Utahns said they had never heard of him. 10% said they had a favorable impression of him, and 7% said their opinion of Weinholtz was negative. Another 16% had heard of him but had not formed an opinion.
 

 
Weinholtz has been running billboards since he clinched the Democratic nomination at the party convention in April. Those apparently aren’t doing much to raise his public profile and build name recognition. He simply doesn’t have much at this point in the campaign.
 
In fact, the only candidate in the 2016 gubernatorial contest with worse name recognition than Weinholtz is Republican Robyn Bagley, who is Jonathan Johnson’s running mate in his primary challenge to Gov. Gary Herbert. 74% of Utahns said they had never heard of Bagley.
 
You would think that at least Democrats in Utah would have a positive impression of Weinholtz, but you would be wrong. Fully 56% of Democrats say they have never heard of Weinholtz. When a majority of the voters in the party you’ve been nominated to lead don’t know who you are, that’s a problem. Another 19% of Democrats say they’ve heard of Weinholtz but have not formed an opinion of him. Now, those numbers are likely to turn around, at least a little as we get closer to election day. But it has to be extremely worrying that, so far, Weinholtz is failing to connect with a key group of voters.
 
Another group Weinholtz has to win votes from in November if he hopes to win the governor’s mansion is independent voters. But, again, he’s failing to gain traction with them. 58% of independent voters say they have never heard of him. Another 14% say they’ve heard of him but have not yet formed an opinion.
 

 
The problem for Weinholtz is he’s trying to introduce himself to voters when many of them aren’t paying attention. First up is the GOP primary between Herbert and Johnson; then the summer season will have plenty of distractions for voters. Once they start turning their gaze to the general election, which should be sometime around Labor Day, Weinholtz will have a short window to make a positive impression on Utahns if he hopes to have a shot at becoming the first Democrat to win a gubernatorial contest since Scott Matheson in 1980.
 
The survey was conducted May 2-10, 2016 among 588 registered Utah voters with a margin of error +/- 4.04%