Could a Joe Miller-style miracle comeback be in the offing in Utah's Second Congressional District? A new Mason-Dixon poll released by the Salt Lake Tribune on October 29th, 2010 indicates that Jim Matheson's lead over Republican challenger Morgan Philpot has rapidly shrunk to only 13 percentage points. And since this post, KSL reports that a new Dan Jones poll shows Matheson leading Philpot by only 12 percentage points.
This contrasts quite favorably with a Dan Jones poll taken within the Second District released on October 18th which showed Matheson with a seemingly-insurmountable 26-point lead at the time. Even the most ardent Philpot partisans began to resign themselves to a Matheson victory at that point. But although the two polls are different, using dissimilar methodology, the trend is plain for all to see: Morgan Philpot is still very much in this race.
Mason-Dixon conducted the statewide survey of 625 likely voters between October 25-27. But in each Congressional district, Mason-Dixon polled a total of 400 likely voters over the same time frame. This means that in both polls, only voters in the Second District were asked about the Matheson-Philpot race. The numbers:
-- Jim Matheson (D): 48 percent
-- Morgan Philpot (R): 35 percent
-- Undecided: 11 percent
-- (Another candidate: 7 percent)
It is assumed that the remaining 7 percent are split between the other three declared candidates, Randall Hinton (Con), Dave Glissmeyer (Ind), and Wayne L. Hill (Ind), or perhaps even an unspecified candidate. What's interesting is that, when compared directly with the Dan Jones poll, it appears that Matheson may be losing support faster than Philpot is gaining support.
Here are the new Dan Jones numbers:
-- Jim Matheson (D): 51 percent
-- Morgan Philpot (R): 39 percent
-- Other/Don't Know: 10 percent
Philpot is skeptical of the Mason-Dixon poll, but suggests a Matheson lead fits a liberal media narrative. He said his campaign has been making calls and found strong support and suspects Matheson has seen the same in his polling, prompting him to begin running television ads targeting Philpot’s record in the legislature. Thus Philpot predicts a win on November 2nd; “I think there’s going to be a large turnout of very conservative-minded, independent voters who are tired of a candidate who can’t run on his own record, but instead chooses to attack constantly.” And Philpot has loyal supporters; Barbara Baker spent $50,000 of her own money to make an audio ad on behalf of Philpot.
Mason-Dixon and Dan Jones also measured some other races:
(1). U.S. Senate Race: Mason-Dixon shows Republican Mike Lee leading Democrat Sam Granato 48-32 percent, while Dan Jones shows Lee up 57 percent to 30 percent. Granato's campaign manager Marla Kennedy claims the numbers are "great news" for Granato, and she thinks her candidate can actually close the gap by November 2nd. Hmmm...
(2). First Congressional District: Republican incumbent Rob Bishop leads Democrat Morgan Bowen 65-13 percent. Bowen's perseverance is noteworthy; this is his second time out.
(3). Third Congressional District: Republican incumbent Jason Chaffetz leads "Democrat" Karen Hyer 56-11 percent. Basically, the Democrats told Hyer at the outset that they didn't care if she actually became a Democrat; it would be sufficient merely for her to wear the label.
(4). Governor's race: Mason-Dixon shows Republican incumbent Gary Herbert is swamping Democrat Peter Corroon, who's also the Salt Lake County Mayor, 59-32 percent, while Dan Jones shows Herbert up 63 percent to 29 percent. One of the biggest albatrosses around Coroon's neck is that controversial and complex police fee that was passed during his watch, in which, despite the fact that residents of the unincorporated parts of Salt Lake County already pay property taxes, they were also assessed a separate fee for Unified Police Department services. Adding insult to injury, the bills for the services were sent to each taxpayer by a California contractor.