Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) 4th Congressional District candidate Mia Love won the nomination with 78 percent of the votes at the Utah Republican Party 2014 Nominating Convention at the South Towne Expo Center, Saturday, April 26, 2014.
Doug Owens says a poll shows he can beat Mia Love
4th District contest » First-time Democratic candidate says gap isn’t as big as many voters might think.
First Published Jul 28 2014 11:51 am • Last Updated Aug 02 2014 09:54 am

Mia Love has a strong lead in Utah’s 4th Congressional District race, but a poll commissioned by Doug Owens has given the Democratic challenger renewed hope that he can close the gap.

Owens’ poll, released to reporters Monday, shows that Love is ahead 50 percent to 41 percent in the open-seat contest, and some respondents were inclined to switch their support to the Democrat when short positive bios were read. This is the first survey of this race to be released to the public.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"There is a path to victory when people understand who I am and what I stand for," said Owens, a corporate attorney. "I want people to understand that it is a highly competitive race."

Love’s campaign isn’t so sure it is. The Republican has spent heavily on polls but isn’t releasing any results. That said, her campaign manager Dave Hansen commented: "We are showing a wide margin, let me put it that way. A significantly wider margin."

The public should be hesitant when reviewing internal campaign polls, said University of Utah political scientist Matthew Burbank. On one hand, he said, candidates have a vested interest in getting good data from respected pollsters, so they know exactly where they stand in their campaigns. But campaigns also release such results largely for political reasons, namely to boost fundraising.

"You have to be careful unless you know the polling organization, you know all the sampling information and you know the questions," Burbank said. "Even when all those things line up, it’s always possible that it is not a representative poll."

Owens hired Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, a California-based firm used widely by Democratic candidates, city governments and medical associations.

FM3 surveyed 400 residents July 15-17 in the 4th District, which includes western Salt Lake and Utah counties and parts of central Utah. Only people who said their chance of voting was at least 50 percent were included and 44 percent said they lean Republican, 27 percent said they lean Democrat and 18 percent said they were independents.

Love, the former mayor of Saratoga Springs, who narrowly lost to Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson in 2012, has a 52 percent favorable rating and a 42 percent unfavorable rating, according to this poll. Owens had a 21 percent favorable and a 5 percent unfavorable rating.

Only 6 percent of respondents said they didn’t know or couldn’t rate Love, while 74 percent were unfamiliar with Owens.


story continues below
story continues below

Burbank said it makes sense that most respondents didn’t know Owens, who is a first-time candidate, though he was surprised that 41 percent support the Democrat at this stage in a district that skews heavily Republican.

"That seems like a very strong number for him," he said.

Hansen said Love’s internal polls don’t show such a high unfavorable rating for his candidate.

"We feel very comfortable where Mia is," he said. "This race is not wrapped up. It is not over with in any way, shape or form. Like most races, they can go either way, so like most races you have to work hard."

Hansen noted that there’s been no indication that national Democratic groups consider the race competitive, unlike in the Matheson-Love showdown.

Owens said his poll shows that as long as he can introduce himself to voters, he can win them over.

"I’ll be an independent voice, working on bipartisan pragmatic solutions," he said. "That’s what people want."

The poll read one paragraph descriptions of both candidates that hew closely to their campaign messages and then asked respondents if that changed for whom they would vote.

Owens was described as "a sixth-generation Utahn, successful corporate defense attorney, and proud father of four who is running for Congress to help end the dysfunction in Washington, D.C., and find pragmatic, bipartisan solutions to revive the American middle class, strengthen our families and improve the quality of life for Utahns."

The poll described Love as "a former mayor of Saratoga Springs who is running for Congress to bring common-sense, conservative values of limited government, personal responsibility and fiscal discipline to a federal government that has grown too big and too expensive."

Sixty percent of respondents had a favorable opinion of Love and 80 percent had a favorable opinion of Owens after a pollster read the descriptions. And in the head-to-head matchup, Owens surged to a 48 percent to a 41 percent lead.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.