The congressional campaign of Ben McAdams is cheering the results of an internal poll showing the Democrat and Salt Lake County mayor with a 1-point lead against incumbent Republican Rep. Mia Love.
The closely watched race, among Utah’s most competitive in the current election cycle, has been narrowing in recent weeks and is currently rated as a “toss-up” by Cook Political Report, a respected national elections handicapper.
“Voters appreciate Ben’s bipartisan message and are deeply concerned by the dysfunction they see in Washington," McAdams' campaign manager Andrew Roberts said, "which is why he’s taken a lead in the polls and why we’re confident he’ll win on Election Day.”
McAdams' team had previously claimed a two-point disadvantage in its internal polling in August for the 4th Congressional District that Love won by 12 percentage points in 2016 against Democrat Doug Owens.
The new numbers show McAdams with 47 percent of the vote compared to 46 percent for Love, with a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4.9 percentage points and based on responses from 400 likely voters in the 4th District. The poll, conducted for the McAdams campaign by the Mellman Group, is the first survey to show McAdams in the lead.
Scott Riding, managing partner at Y2 Analytics and pollster for Love, was skeptical of McAdams' numbers. The Mellman Group survey conflicts with internal polling conducted by Y2 that shows Love in the lead, Riding said, and it’s unclear what assumptions were made regarding the weighting of voter demographics.
“Polling numbers released without any transparency about methods are not credible,” Riding said. “This has nothing, which is both uncommon and unhelpful.”
Last month, the Love campaign released internal polling results that showed the incumbent congresswoman with a 9-point lead over McAdams. Riding declined to comment on more recent internal polling numbers for the campaign, but reiterated that his firm has a practice of providing its methodology when results are publicly released.
“If they’re not willing to be transparent, I don’t know why we should take them seriously,” he said.
Correction: Oct. 14, 2:05 p.m.: An earlier version of this article understated the size of Rep. Mia Love's electoral victory in 2016. Love received 53.76 percent of the vote in 2016, compared to the 41.3 percent of the vote received by her Democratic opponent.