Ben McAdams has some work to do.
As reported late Friday, Democrat McAdams is 3 percentage points behind Republican Mia Love in their close 4th Congressional District race, finds UtahPolicy.com pollster Dan Jones & Associates.
Jones now tightrope 49-46 percent for Love, with 5 percent undecided.
That’s within the poll’s margin of error, so the race could be considered a statistical tie.
A further analysis of the numbers shows that while McAdams has made strides among political independents, and holds his Democratic base tightly, Love is still ahead because she is holding her GOP base – in the still leaning Republican district – and is doing very well among active Mormons.
McAdams, who is faithful LDS, as is Love, needs to start standing next to some well-known Mormons, maybe get his picture taken outside of the Salt Lake Temple, or wearing a Mr. Mac blue suit with an “Elder” name tag.
He needs to eat away, just a bit, at the Love GOP and Mormon base if he hopes to beat her Nov. 6.
Here are some of the numbers:
-- Love is favored by Republicans, 83-12 percent, with just 4 percent undecided.
-- She is supported by “very active” Mormons – those who pay tithing and have temple recommends, 74-22 percent, with 4 percent undecided.
-- Love leads McAdams, 57-43 percent, among the “somewhat active” Mormons.
Clearly, it is time for some hardball tactics by McAdams if he is going to cross that finish line first.
McAdams does have his bright spots, however:
-- He does much better among women than does Love – who continues to fail in winning most votes from her own gender.
This is a very different aspect than what is seen across the nation, where women candidates are doing very well among women voters.
Jones finds that among 4th District women, McAdams leads Love, 51-43 percent.
But Love leads McAdams among men, 54-41 percent.
That is quite a gender gap for both candidates.
And Love is walking the gender tight rope when she continues to attack McAdams over the abortion issue – historically female voters are more sensitive to that issue and tend to be more pro-choice.
McAdams does well among younger voters. His challenge there – as is the case for Democrats across the U.S. – is to get them out to vote.
-- Among those who are 18-24, McAdams is ahead, 54-39 percent.
-- Among those who are 25-34, he leads 58-31 percent. That’s a big lead.
-- The 35-44-year-olds go for Love, 51-46 percent.
And she leads McAdams among all the older folks, as well, with the 65-plus group favoring her, 56-41 percent.
Of course, older Utahns vote more often than do younger Utahns.
It has generally been the case that for a Democrat to win a U.S. House seat in Utah, he or she needs to carry political independents with at least 60 percent of the vote.
McAdams is there.
Jones finds that he has a 62-31 percent lead over Love among those who don’t belong to any political party.
But McAdams only get 12 percent of the GOP vote. He probably needs to be closer to 15-18 percent there.
Love is getting 4 percent of the Democratic vote. That’s not much and is within the poll’s margin of error.
Still, McAdams needs about every Democratic vote if he’s to stage an upset.
Finally, here is a number in McAdams’ favor:
-- 79 percent of Democrats in the 4th District are “very interested” in this year’s elections.
In other words, they are motivated to vote.
-- Republicans – no doubt driven down by the dysfunction in the Donald Trump administration and GOP-controlled Congress – have only 59 percent who say they are “very interested” in the election.
A challenge for McAdams, who needs those independent voters to cast ballots, only 53 percent of independents are “very interested” in the election.
Clearly, any chance for McAdams to win means he has to have an aggressive and successful turn-out-the-vote effort.
Love needs Republicans and good Mormons to vote – and historically they do.
Another incentive for faithful Mormons to vote: Their leaders have asked them to vote “no” on Prop 2 – the medical marijuana initiative.
So a call to action by LDS Church leaders could prove troublesome for McAdams – even if the leaders, as they always do, don’t endorse or oppose any individual candidate.
Jones polled 400 registered voters in the 4th District from Aug. 22 to Sept. 6. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent.