Never before has a 13-point lead felt so tenuous.
That's the gap between Republican freshman Representative Mia Love and her Democratic opponent according to a new UtahPolicy.com poll from Dan Jones & Associates.
Love gets 51% in the survey while Owens scores 38% support. Constitution Party candidate Collin Simonsen is at 4% while 7% are undecided.
The race in Utah's 4th Congressional District is expected to be one of the tightest in the country this year, but Love still scores a majority in our survey.
The numbers from our poll mirror an internal poll Love's campaign released last month. In that survey from Y2 Analytics, Love had 51% to Owens' 36%. Those two polls stand in a very stark contrast to a Salt Lake Tribune poll from June that gave Owens a six-point lead over Love at 51-45%. The more recent surveys suggest the Tribune poll is an outlier.
Pollster Dan Jones suggested that all is not lost for Owens, but the time for making a move is growing short.
"It is very difficult for a Democrat to win in the fourth congressional district without strong support from independent voters," said Jones. "Mia Love currently leads among that voting bloc, so Doug Owens needs to convince the independent voters to support him if he wants to close the gap."
Love is winning among Republicans and independent voters, while Democrats are nearly lock-step behind Owens.
- Republican voters pick Love by a 79-9% margin.
- Democrats favor Owens 96-1%. Makes you wonder who the 1% is that favors Love.
- Independent voters slightly prefer Love 46-40%.
In what is a surprise to nobody, Love's campaign hailed the results.
"It is very good to see that Utah Policy's poll numbers validate our own internal polling as the numbers are virtually the same," said campaign manager David Hansen. "Congresswoman Love's hard work on behalf of her neighbors in the Fourth District on issues including protecting Veterans rights and bringing education decisions closer to parents and local schools is what voters want. She is not going to rest on this strong lead, but will continue to work hard for the Fourth District."
Hansen dug up a favorite boogeyman for Utah Republicans - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
"Washington Democrats are pushing Mia's opponent so Nancy Pelosi will be the next Speaker of the House. Utah voters are not going to let that happen," he added.
The Owens campaign declined to comment on the results.
Speaking of Nancy Pelosi, her House Majority PAC has reserved $383,000 in advertising time in the Beehive State ahead of the 2016 elections. Not to be outdone, Love's campaign purchased $1 million in advertising time that will begin in about a month and continue through election day.
These most recent poll numbers are remarkably similar to a UtahPolicy.com survey from about a year ago in September 2015. That poll found Love with a 49-38% lead over Owens, suggesting the race has remained in stasis since then. In fact, one could argue that the contest hasn't changed significantly since election day in 2014 when Love defeated Owens 51-46%.
Love has an advantage among younger and older voters, while those in the middle age ranges are either evenly divided or favor Owens slightly.
- 18-24-year-olds break toward Love 62-18%.
- 25-34-year-olds slightly prefer Love 45-39%.
- Owens wins those between the ages of 35 and 44 by a 46-44% tally.
- Love has a slight advantage among the 45 to 54 age group 44-41%.
- Utahns between 55 and 64 lean toward Love 55-38%.
- Elderly Utahs over the age of 65 pick Love 55-33.
Love has a big lead in another crucial category - fundraising. So far she has raised more than $3.3 million for this race to Owens' $1.4 million. In 2014, Love outspent Owens $5.3 million to $866,000.