Incumbent U.S. Reps. Bill Orton and Jim Hansen have large leads over their challengers as they seek re-election to the U.S. House this year, the latest Deseret News/KSL-TV poll shows.
Orton, a Democrat, seeks re-election for the first time in his 3rd Congressional District, while Hansen, a Republican, seeks his sixth term in the 1st Congressional District.Pollster Dan Jones & Associates found in a survey conducted Aug. 31-Sept. 4 that Orton leads Republican Richard Harrington, 56 percent to 19 percent. One percent mentioned someone else and 24 percent were undecided.
Hansen, who has faced a couple of relatively close re-elections in the past, is well ahead of Democrat Ron Holt so far. Jones found Hansen leads Holt, 58 percent to 23 percent. Independent Party candidate Dub Lawrence, a former Davis County sheriff and commissioner, gets 4 percent support. Fifteen percent told Jones they were undecided.
Orton won an upset victory two years ago in the 3rd District, which is still basically a Republican district. The two Republican primary finalists ran divisive campaigns and in the final election Orton crushed Republican Karl Snow. Orton is seen by many as a conservative Democrat, often voting with Republicans in Congress.
Hansen considered running for the U.S. Senate or governor this year, both seats being vacated by their GOP incumbents. But in the end, he chose re-election to the House.
The Republican-controlled Utah Legislature last year redrew the boundaries of Utah's three congressional districts. Hansen was the only Republican incumbent, so legislators basically left his district intact. In an apparent attempt to make Wayne Owens' re-election to the 2nd District more difficult, however, they gave Orton the western part of Salt Lake City, a predominantly Democratic area. So Orton has a more favorable - although still Republican - district than in 1990. Owens, in turn, decided to leave his 2nd District seat and run for the U.S. Senate.
Harrington has a lot of work to do in his own party. Jones found that in the 3rd District, 45 percent of the people consider themselves Republicans, and only 20 percent say they're Democrats.
Yet 46 percent of the district's Republicans said they favor Orton, while only 30 percent said they support Harrington, Jones found.
Holt has a similar, though smaller, problem in his race. Jones found that Hansen gets 79 percent support among his own party Republicans, and 18 percent support among Democrats. Holt gets 59 percent support among his Democrats and 6 percent support among Republicans.
Deseret News/SKL-TV Poll
If the election for U.S. representative in Utah's 3rd Congressional District were today, for whom would you vote?
Bill Orton (D) 56%
Richard Harrington (R) 19%
Don't know 24%
Number polled: 516
If the election for U.S. representative in Utah's 1st Congressional district were today, for whom would you vote?
Jim Hansen (R) 58%
Ron Holt (D) 23%
W.J. "Dub" Lawrence (I) 4%
Don't know 15%
Number polled: 499
Error margin: +/- 5.5 percent. Conducted Aug. 31 to Sept. 4, 1992.
Copyright Dan Jones and Associates/1992 Deseret News