Republican Sen. Mike Lee has opened up a commanding 35-point lead over his Democratic opponent, Misty Snow.
The latest UtahPolicy.com/Dan Jones & Associates survey shows Lee is in prime position to win another term in Washington as he leads Snow by a 57-22% margin. Independent candidate Bill Barron gets 6% while Stoney Fonua from the Independent American Party pulls 3%. 12% of Utah voters are undecided.
The numbers underscore just how big of a longshot Snow's candidacy is. Snow only entered the race in March, just ahead of the filing deadline. At the Democratic State Convention, she forced Jonathan Swinton into a primary election, where she prevailed in June.
However, she has little name recognition and is facing a massive cash deficit against the incumbent, Lee.
Lee's campaign manager, Jordan Hess, was buoyed by the poll numbers but was not ready to declare victory yet.
"The only numbers Senator Lee is concerned with is the number of Utahns being hurt by liberal policies, the number of Utahns in San Juan County who will be hurt by a national monument at Bears Ears, and the number of people hurt by a broken criminal justice system," said Hess. "Senator Lee is working diligently for the people of Utah and will continue to lead out with a reform agenda comprised of innovative policies that help all Utahns and all Americans."
In an email statement, Snow said the poll results do not reflect her experience on the campaign trail.
"Polls like this tend to oversample older voters and undersample younger voters," said Snow. "As I travel around the state, I am seeing that there is real excitement for my candidacy, especially among younger voters. I am a working class person who is running to represent working class people and their families who have not been well served by Mike Lee and his obstructionism."
Snow's claim that younger voters are rallying to her cause is contradicted by our polling results.
- Voters 18-24 say they prefer Lee by a 40-13% margin. 25% in that age group are undecided.
- A majority of Utahns between 25 and 34 pick Lee over Snow 54-20%.
Snow's 22% total in this poll is flirting with the worst performance by a Utah Democratic candidate in a statewide election in recent history. That honor currently belongs to 2008 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bob Springmeyer who failed to crack 20% against Republican Jon Huntsman. Like Snow, Springmeyer was a relatively unknown candidate and massively underfunded candidate.
If Snow is going to have a prayer of pulling off an improbable upset, she is going to have to get 18 points somewhere to catch Lee. That means she must grab every single undecided vote and then pull another 6% away from Lee.
She should start by shoring up her standing among Democrats and then focus on independents.
- 77% of Democrats say they'll vote for Snow over Lee while 13% are undecided.
- Lee leads among independent voters 43-25% with 16% undecided.
The Dan Jones & Associates survey was conducted July 18 through August 4, 2016, among 858 statewide voters. It has a margin of error +/- 3.34%.