A new Dan Jones & Associates poll for the Salt Lake Chamber, obtained by UtahPolicy.com, shows that former GOP Gov. Jon Huntsman leads the congested governor’s race among all voters, but comes in a close second -- but a statistical tie -- among just Republican voters.
In essence, at this point, the GOP race is a tie between Huntsman and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, since only registered Republicans can vote in the late-June closed party primary, paid for by the state and run by local county clerks. However, independents can register as Republicans and vote in that closed primary, so their opinions may matter, as well.
The new survey comes as Huntsman’s campaign struggles to get the 28,000 valid registered GOP voter signatures needed to place him on the late-June party primary ballot. With an April 10 deadline, as of Friday Huntsman had 16,511 valid signatures, with some left still to be counted.
The new survey shows:
-- Among all voters Huntsman leads Cox, 34-23 percent -- a 7 percentage point lead. That’s a sample of 798 voters, and a margin of error of plus or minus 3.47 percent.
Those results are inside the margin of error. So, one can say the Dan Jones survey puts Huntsman in the lead among all Utah voters.
However, among those who told Jones they are “very likely” to vote in the GOP primary -- and only registered Republicans can vote in the primary -- Cox leads Huntsman, 30-27 percent -- just 3 percentage points.
That sample is 338 voters, and the margin of error is 5.33 percent, plus or minus. So that sample is outside the margin of error, and one could say among likely GOP voters it is a statistical tie.
The other candidates break out like this, according to Jones:
-- Former Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes has 12 percent of the “likely” GOP voters.
-- Former state Republican Party chairman Thomas Wright has 7 percent support among Republicans.
-- Provo businessman Jeff Burningham has 6 percent of the GOP vote.
-- Salt Lake County Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton has 4 percent support.
-- And Jan Garbett, who recently got in the race, has 1 percent support among those who said they are Republican voters “likely” to cast a primary ballot.
The “don’t know” is 17 percent among all voters, and 14 percent among just the “likely” GOP voters. Whomever is the “Democratic Party nominee” comes in well back among all voters
So, all of the major GOP gubernatorial candidates can hope to get more of the “don’t knows” before the primary, several months away.
A new UtahPolicy.com/Y2 Analytics survey in conjunction with KUTV 2 News should be published in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for those results.