Rep. Jim Hansen may well eliminate challenger Dub Lawrence in Saturday's state Republican convention, but Republican races in the 2nd and 3rd congressional districts are too close to call, a poll of 900 convention delegates by the Deseret News and KSL-TV shows.
If a candidate receives 70 percent of the delegate vote in the convention, he wins the nomination outright and there's no primary election. If no one receives 70 percent, the top two vote-getters advance to a Sept. 11 primary.2nd Congressional District
Dan Marriott wants to eliminate Genevieve Atwood by getting 70 percent of the delegate vote in their 2nd District Republican race. Pollster Dan Jones & Associates found that as of Monday, 58 percent of the 2nd District delegates favor Marriott, 26 percent Atwood, 14 percent were undecided and 2 percent refused to answer Jones' questions. Jones interviewed 308 2nd District delegates, with a margin of error plus or minus 5.5 percent.
If Marriott can get 70 percent of the 2nd District vote, Atwood will be eliminated and he'll face Democratic incumbent Rep. Wayne Owens. Otherwise, Marriott and Atwood face a primary.
3rd Congressional District
Six men are seeking the GOP nomination in the 3rd District to replace retiring Republican Rep. Howard Nielson. Jones found that Steve Densley leads with 22 percent of the delegate vote, followed by John Harmer and Karl Snow with 20 percent each. Three other GOP candidates fell well back in the pack of delegate preference. Richard Harrington and Dean L. Bristow each got7 percent delegate support and Brent Morris got only 5 percent support. Jones interviewed 400 delegates in the 3rd District, margin of error plus or minus 5 percent.
Clearly, there'll be a primary in the 3rd District; no one will get 70 percent of the vote. The only question is which two of the top three candidates - Densley, Harmer or Snow - will advance and which one will be eliminated. The winner of the GOP primary will face Democrat Bill Orton or T. John Baer, who face each other in a June 23 state Democratic convention.
1st Congressional District
In the 1st District, Hansen holds a sizable lead among delegates _ 91 percent to Lawrence's 7 percent. Only 1 percent were undecided and 1 percent refused to answer Jones' question. Jones interviewed 206 delegates in that district, margin of error plus or minus 6 percent.
Thus, Hansen will probably eliminate Lawrence and have no primary. He would then face Democrat Kenley Brunsdale in his bid to win a sixth term to Congress.
Jones asked delegates a number of questions, including whether candidates contacted them and what personal feelings they had toward the candidates. From their answers several things become clear:
-Neither Hansen nor Lawrence did a good job of contacting their delegates. Up until the time of the poll, only 16 percent of the 1st District delegates were contacted by Hansen; Lawrence contacted only 10 percent.
Lawrence is a GOP Davis County commissioner who has run before as a Democrat. He's considered a maverick in the party, and Hansen supporters believe the popular congressman will easily defeat him in the convention.
-Marriott and Atwood both did a good job lobbying delegates. Marriott, who held the 2nd District seat from 1976-84 before leaving office to run an unsuccessful campaign for governor, contacted 95 percent of the delegates. Atwood, a professional geologist and former Utah House member, contacted 87 percent of the delegates Jones polled.
-In the 3rd District, Densley contacted 84 percent of the delegates Jones polled, Harmer talked to 76 percent and Snow contacted 64 percent. Only Harrington contacted fewer delegates than Snow, just 57 percent.
Early on, Snow was considered the clear leader in the 3rd District race, but now the race is up for grabs.
Said Jones in analyzing the results of his delegate poll: "The poll is only an indication of how the delegates felt at the time the poll was taken. It doesn't predict the vote in the convention. Much can still happen, especially in the 3rd District race. Delegates who support a candidate may change because they come to believe that candidate can't come out of the convention (a winner). The candidates' (convention) presentations can have a real impact on the vote."
Jones said he was disappointed that one 3rd District candidate sent out a letter to delegates asking them not to answer Jones' polling questions. "But we interviewed 400 delegates in the district (out of about 900) and feel very good about our results."
ASKED OF 308 2ND DISTRICT: If the state convention were held today, which candidate would you vote for, Dan Marriott or Genevieve Atwood?
Refused to answer............2%
ASKED OF 206 1ST DISTRICT DELEGATES: If fthe state convention were held today, which candidate would you vote for, Jim Hansen or Dub Lawrence?
Refused to answer............1%
ASKED OF 400 3RD DISTRICT DELEGATES: If the state convention were held today, which of the following candidates would you vote for?
John L. Harmer...............20%
Dean L. Bristow...............7%
Refused to answer............. 4%