Sen. Mike Lee would have quite the fight on his hands if he were to face off against former Rep. Jim Matheson in 2016.
The latest UtahPolicy.com shows 48% of Utahns would support Lee while 42% would back Matheson. 10% are undecided.
Matheson's electoral calculus has always been the same in heavily Republican Utah. Win a majority of Democrats, pick off some Republicans and get a majority of the independent vote. The survey shows Matheson would win 87% of Democrats, 20% of Republicans and 57% of independents. He would likely need to increase the numbers among Republican and independent voters to have a chance at unseating Lee.
Not surprisingly, Lee wins nearly 70% of the Republican vote and just 6% of Democrats. 32% of independents would favor Lee over Matheson.
Lee is the only declared candidate for U.S. Senate at this point, but there are a number of rumored candidates for that seat in 2016. A plurality of Utahns (33%) think Lee should win the seat. Josh Romney and Jim Matheson tied at 20%. Doug Owens got 8% support. Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams won 5% while former GOP chair Thomas Wright pulled in 2% support. 12% of voters remained undecided.
That list is a bit misleading. McAdams is likely running for another term as Salt Lake County Mayor in 2016, Owens has not made his intentions clear and Matheson may not run. On the Republican side, Romney has been a rumored candidate, but hasn't said whether he will run.
The survey was conducted for UtahPolicy.com by Dan Jones and Associates from March 30 to April 7, 2015. 601 registered Utah voters were contacted via telephone and online methods. It has a margin of error of +/- 4.0%.