Because Utah's Fourth Congressional District race is shaping up to be one of the marquee Congressional races in the United States, the pollsters are already sniffing around. And one of them, Dan Jones, took the political pulse of 341 registered voters in the Fourth District from December 19-21. The major findings:
-- If the general election was held today, Democratic incumbent Jim Matheson would defeat any of the four Republican challengers. Stephen Sandstrom would be the toughest opponent. This despite the fact that the new Fourth District, which encompasses southwestern Salt Lake County, western Utah County and all of Juab and Sanpete counties, is heavily Republican.
-- It will take a primary election to determine the Republican nominee, and Carl Wimmer and Stephen Sandstrom are the most likely competitors.
The other Republicans in the race are Mia Love and Jay Cobb; see my December 15th post for a more detailed analysis of all candidates. KSL news video embedded below:
The Deseret News published a much more detailed story with three graphics. The individual findings:
-- Jim Matheson leads Stephen Sandstrom 50 percent to 41 percent (the remainder are Other/Don't Know)
-- Jim Matheson leads Carl Wimmer 52 percent to 41 percent
-- Jim Matheson leads Mia Love 53 percent to 36 percent
-- Jim Matheson leads Jay Cobb 54 percent to 35 percent
It is unlikely that the Republican nominee can be determined by delegates at the state Republican convention on April 21st, 2012; a primary fight between the two top vote-getters on June 26th will be necessary. The poll results explain why:
-- Carl Wimmer: 15 percent
-- Stephen Sandstrom: 15 percent
-- Mia Love: 8 percent
-- Jay Cobb: 3 percent
Nineteen percent want someone else, and 41 percent don't plan to vote in a Republican primary election. The split between Wimmer and Sandstrom is too even, and Love has too much residual strength to permit a final choice at the convention. However, there's a good chance that Sandstrom could get a sympathy bump from some unlikely sources; namely, the Federal government and a host of Latin American nations. Sandstrom wrote the HB497 immigration law, and in November, U.S. Attorney General Eric "Fast and Furious" Holder announced the Department of Justice's intent to sue to block implementation. More recently, attorneys representing Mexico and 13 other Latin American countries filed an amicus brief in U.S. District Court in conjunction with the DOJ lawsuit challenging HB497's constitutionality; they claim the law supposedly threatens Mexican nationals' human and civil rights. Both actions have attracted strong backlash from Utahns and a determination by Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff to vigorously defend the state.
Some voters, simply out of protest against the Feds' high-handed actions, may migrate to Sandstrom just to thumb their nose at the Federal government.