With two days before Tuesday's primary election, the Democratic and Republican races for the U.S. Senate have closed - with the GOP race between Joe Cannon and Bob Bennett up for grabs, the latest Deseret News/KSL-TV poll shows.
On the Democratic side, Wayne Owens is only 9 percentage points ahead of Senate candidate Doug Anderson.In the governor's races, Republican Mike Leavitt has built a comfortable lead over Richard Eyre - nearly 20 percentage points - and Democrat Pat Shea continues his lead over Stewart Hanson.
Enid Greene also has a good lead over her Republican colleague, Jim Bartleson, in the 2nd Congressional District GOP race.
"This has been the most difficult primary election to survey ever," said pollster Dan Jones of Dan Jones & Associates. "There were so many candidates in so many different primary contests. And many of those surveyed didn't understand that they can't split ticket vote in the primary - they can only vote for candidates in one party or the other."
Jones took a large sample - 1,503 Utahns - to ensure a reasonable margin of error in the many primary races. He polled Aug. 31 to Sept. 4. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.0 percent in the Republican primaries statewide, plus or minus 5.0 percent in the Democratic statewide races, plus or minus 6.0 percent in the 2nd Congressional District's Republican race, plus or minus 5.5 percent in the GOP Salt Lake County Commission race and plus or minus 6.0 percent in the Democratic Salt Lake County Commission race.
Jones warns that his poll doesn't attempt to predict who will win Tuesday. "It is an accurate indication of voters' preferences at the time it was taken. But I see much movement in these races, and a lot could change over the weekend and Monday," said Jones.
The closest race with the biggest stakes is the Republican U.S. Senate race between Cannon and Bennett. Among the 849 Utahns who said they were going to vote in the GOP primary, Cannon leads Bennett by just 2 percentage points - 46 percent to 44 percent. Ten percent said they were undecided.
"Especially in this race," said Jones, "whoever turns out their supporters will win."
Anderson, who ran several TV ads critical of Owens this past week, has pulled within 9 percentage points - 41 percent to 50 percent - among the 536 Utahns who said they're going to vote in the Democratic primary.
Jones' poll shows that GOP gubernatorial candidate Leavitt can breathe a bit easier. He leads his Republican opponent Eyre by 19 percentage points - 50 percent to 31 percent. Two percent mentioned someone else and 15 percent were undecided.
But on the Democratic side it's still rather close. Shea leads Hanson 38 percent to 29 percent, with 5 percent mentioning someone else and 28 percent undecided.
Said Jones: "Any time a candidate is under 40 percent, especially with such a volatile populace, there can be big surprises. I think there will be at least one and maybe two big surprises in this primary."
In the Republican 2nd Congressional District race, Greene has increased her lead over Bartleson - 42 percent to 28 percent - with 31 percent saying they're undecided.
There are some pretty big "undecided" blocs in the races for attorney general and Salt Lake County Commission.
In the Republican race for attorney general, 63 percent of those who are going to vote in the GOP primary are undecided - "the largest undecided group in a statewide race just four days before a primary election I've ever seen," said Jones.
Eighteen percent said they favored GOP attorney general candidate Scott Burns, 17 percent mentioned Mike Deamer, 2 percent said someone else, Jones found.
The Democratic primary for attorney general shows a wider margin. Forty-three percent support Jan Graham, 25 percent back Scott Daniels, with 1 percent mentioning someone else and 32 percent of the 536 Utahns who said they're voting in the Democratic primary still undecided. Democratic Attorney General Paul Van Dam, a Graham supporter, questioned Daniels' ethical conduct this past week, and that may have led to Daniels' demise - even though Daniels says he has done nothing wrong and a number of leading Democrats swarmed to his defense, condemning Van Dam's actions.
In the Salt Lake County Commission races, Brent Overson leads his Republican opponent Bill Barton, 38 percent to 30 percent with 31 percent undecided, while Democrat Janet Rose leads John Hiskey, 45 percent to 16 percent, with 38 percent undecided.
"I've really seen it is the `Year of the Woman,' especially in the lower races where the candidates aren't as well known," said Jones.
Women candidates lead in three of their races.
Deseret News/KSL-TV poll
If the Republican primary election for U.S. Senate were held today, for who would you vote?
Joe Cannon 46%
Robert Bennett 44%
Don't know 10%
Sample size: 849. Error: +/- 3%
If the Republican primary election for U.S. representative in the 2nd Congressional District, for whom would you vote?
Enid Greene 42%
Jim Bartleson 28%
Don't Know 31%
Sample size: 246. Error: +/- 6%
If the Republican primary election for Salt Lake County Commission, for whom would you vote?
Brent overson 38%
Bill Barton 30%
Don't know 31%
Sample size: 323. Error: +/- 5.5%
If the Democratic primary election for U.S. Senate were held today, for whom would you vote?
Wayne Owens 50%
Doug Anderson 41%
Don't know 8%
Sample size: 536. Error +/-5%
If the Democratic primary election for governor were held today, for whom would you vote?
Pat Shea 38%
Stewart hanson 29%
Don't know 28%
Sample size: 536. Error: +/-5%
If the Democratic primary election for attorney general, for whom would you vote?
Jan Graham 43%
Scott Daniels 25%
Sample size: 536. Error: +/- 5%
If the Democratic primary election for Salt Lake County Commission, for whom would you vote?
Janet Rose 45%
John Hiskey 16%
Don't know 38%
Sample size: 276. Error: +/-6%
Conducted Aug. 31 - Sept. 4, 1992
Copyright 1992 Deseret News
Conducted by Dan Jones & Associates