Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dan Jones Poll Shows Chris Cannon With A Two-Point Lead Over Jason Chaffetz In Utah Third District Republican Primary Fight

Utah's Third Congressional District Congressman Chris Cannon may have been knocked down at the Utah State Republican Convention on May 10th, 2008, but he wasn't knocked out. Pundits have been concerned that Cannon might come back and defeat Jason Chaffetz in the June 24th Republican primary.

And sure enough, Cannon may have new life. A Dan Jones poll taken during the period May 13-19 shows Cannon clinging to a two-point lead over Chaffetz. Full story published in the Deseret Morning News.

Here's how 203 people responded:

Chris Cannon: 39 percent
Jason Chaffetz: 37 percent
Don't Know: 19 percent

This is a far cry from the results of the delegate vote on May 10th, when it was Chaffetz with 59.01 percent and Cannon with 40.99 percent. Only when third-place finisher David Leavitt released his delegates to switch their support to Cannon at the last minute did Cannon avoid outright elimination.

There's sort of a demographic split between the two most populous areas of the Third District. Chaffetz has a slight lead in western Salt Lake County, while Cannon has a slight lead in Utah County. Both areas are strongly conservative, but Utah County slightly more so. However, the overall result shows that the convention delegates continue to be more conservative than the population as a whole, which has triggered calls to scrap the caucus system and switch to a direct primary election as will be the case on June 24th. District 10 Senator Chris Buttars likewise benefited from a more conservative battery of delegates, winning outright renomination in the Salt Lake County primary despite strong grass-roots opposition from among the voters.

And the winner of the June 24th Republican primary is likely to go to Washington next year. Both Cannon and Chaffetz would clobber Democratic challenger Bennion Spencer of Riverton. Cannon leads Spencer, 50 percent to 19 percent, while Chaffetz leads Spencer, 46 percent to 18 percent. The other District 3 candidate is Jim Noorlander.

Although there'll be no June 24th primary elections for either Congressional District 1 or 2, Dan Jones decided to take the voters' temperature within each of those two districts to see how the general election might go. And Dan Jones discovered that in District 2, 197 respondents selected Democratic incumbent Jim Matheson over first-time Republican challenger Bill Dew from Sandy by a 67-20 percent margin. Eleven percent are undecided. Dew is prepared to throw money at the election - large amounts, but it may not be enough to overcome that type of deficit. Other District 2 candidates include Libertarian Mathew Arndt and Constitution Party's Dennis Ray Emery.

And in District 1, 204 respondents chose Republican incumbent Rob Bishop over first-time Democratic challenger Morgan Bowen by a 58-19 percent, with 19 percent undecided. Bishop has a lock on that seat. Other District 1 candidates include the Constitution Party's Kirk Pearson and Libertarian Joseph Geddes Buchman.

The Utah Republican primary is a closed primary. Only those who are registered Republicans and those who are political independents who are willing to register as a Republican at the polls on primary day can get a Republican ballot.

In a May 18th article, Deseret News columnists Pignanelli and Webb (who write a joint Hannity vs. Colmes-type column) believe Chaffetz has a chance if he can stay on message and not appear too extreme, but they acknowledge that Cannon has the edge in incumbency and funding. Cannon will also get help from other incumbents.

The best way for Jason Chaffetz to defeat Chris Cannon is to start off with the issue that enrages Cannon's opponents the most - immigration. It is well-known that Cannon favors a path to citizenship (amnesty) for illegals. My "path to citizenship" for illegals leads in only one direction - back outside the United States. No, we don't have the money to deport all the illegals at once, but we can enforce through attrition. As soon as we find an illegal, we begin the deportation process. In addition, put an end to the anchor baby problem by not awarding instant citizenship to babies born of illegals while in the U.S.

But Chaffetz cannot win by being a single-issue candidate. So he must effectively search out other sources of discontent with Chris Cannon. Chaffetz could help himself by pledging not to commit troops outside the United States unless the U.S., its people, or its facilities are attacked by an outside source. It is time to ratchet down America's worldwide military empire to manageable and affordable levels. Chaffetz could further help himself by pledging to promote legislation to end affirmative action and racial preferences in the United States. Chris Buttars showed that the NAACP can be defeated - it's time for other lawmakers to follow Buttars' example. The NAACP is nothing more than a little old wizard behind the curtain.

Chaffetz can win only by offering an alternative to the type of representation delivered by Chris Cannon.

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