Friday, June 20, 2008

Four Days Before June 24th Primary, Chris Cannon Leads By Four Points Over Jason Chaffetz In Utah Third District Congressional Race

Fueled with $75,000 fresh cash, is the RINO getting ready for a last-minute charge?

You can review previous posts about Chris Cannon HERE, or posts about Jason Chaffetz HERE. Click HERE to find out information on how and where to vote.

Just four days before the Tuesday June 24th primary election in Utah, Dan Jones put his polling sleuths to work, and they found out that incumbent Republican Congressman Chris Cannon continues to nurse a slight lead over challenger Jason Chaffetz. Full story reported by the Deseret News and KSL Channel 5.

Specifically, the poll shows that 44 percent support Cannon, 40 percent support Chaffetz, and 16 percent undecided. But the margin of error in the sample of 312 adult registered voters is plus or minus 5.5 percent. That means Cannon's support could be as high as 49.5 percent and as low as 39.5 percent, while Chaffetz's could be as high as 45.5 percent and as low as 34.5 percent.

Dan Jones believes Tuesday's results could depend on turnout - in particular, which candidate can get more of his supporters to the polls. "Of those, those who show the most interest, Chaffetz is one or two points ahead. But of those who plan to vote, it is Mr. Cannon," said political pollster Dan Jones. Because the campaign has been quite heated, a Third District turnout as high as 30 percent is possible, although Jones himself expects a more modest 20 percent.

But which way will the undecideds jump? A previous poll gives us a hint. A Dan Jones poll taken during the period May 13-19 and reported by the Deseret Morning News showed that out of 203 respondents, Chris Cannon had 39 percent, Jason Chaffetz 37 percent, and Don't Know brought up the rear with 19 percent.

This means that the Undecideds are NOT jumping en masse onto the Chaffetz bandwagon. Instead, they might be, by a slight plurality, heading into the Cannon camp. And this has been determined by the SAME pollster using the SAME techniques. This is not a good thing.

The polls also indicate that the voters aren't as conservative as the convention delegates. This was the case during the Salt Lake County Convention. Remember Chris Buttars? The polls had him all for dead. Then what happens? He wins renomination OUTRIGHT at the convention. And now, we see that Chaffetz was also much stronger among convention delegates than he is at the polls. And Chaffetz isn't saddled with the same baggage as Buttars. We're seeing a trend of convention delegates being more conservative than the electorate. This could portend trouble for Chaffetz on Tuesday.

Both candidates continue to swing for the fences. Most recently, a KUED debate between the two got quite heated, and harsh words were exchanged backstage after the event. And just today, the Salt Lake Tribune blew the whistle on an anonymous website attacking Chaffetz, accusing him of malicious lies and campaign law violations. The website,, which has since been taken down (although the Google cache of site available HERE), was run by Jason Smith, a staffer on Cannon's campaign payroll. Cannon's campaign claimed they had no idea that the young man they hired to put up lawn signs was also running the website, but Cannon's recent financial disclosure form lists a $500 payment to Smith for "salary."

But the Cannon campaign, which was nearly broke, owing $132,500, got a financial boost this past week when special interests flooded him with $75,000 in cash. However, some of the late money may not be considered "clean" by more devout Latter-day Saint voters - it included $2,500 from the National Beer Wholesalers Association. Cannon is a devout Mormon.

Analysis: Being in a fight for his political life, Chris Cannon will pull out all the stops this weekend. You can bet he's going to spend every penny of that $75,000, including the $2,500 in beer money, on an all-out publicity blitz. He may even buy more air time.

But despite the fact that Undecideds have not yet migrated en masse to the Chaffetz camp, this election isn't over with. What Chaffetz can't do with money, he can do with shoe leather, telephones, the web, and the enthusiasm of hundreds of supporters. And that is to make sure that all Chaffetz supporters get the word and get to the polls on Tuesday. Chaffetz may be down, but he certainly isn't out.

At the same time, it might be appropriate for those of us who support Chaffetz to prepare ourselves emotionally for the other outcome. Quite frankly, if Chris Cannon prevails, it will NOT be a disaster for Utah. So we should be willing to set our differences aside and support Cannon should he win.

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