With the election tomorrow, I thought I’d take a look at two recent polls of the Utah Senate primary between Tim Bridgewater and Mike Lee, the top two vote getters in the GOP convention.
Sometimes polls can differ, but this is a huge difference. I’m looking at one poll Dan Jones & Associates conducted for Deseret News and KSL-TV, and another that Wenzel Strategies did for the Senate Conservatives Fund.
Each one shows a different leader.
Now, the Senate Conservatives Fund is not neutral in the race, as I believe Jim DeMint has endorsed Mike Lee in his race against Tim Bridgewater, so this could be taken like an internal poll. Wenzel shows Lee (64) and Bridgewater (66) both being liked in the state (MoE 3.84), but Lee leads overall 45-35 in the heads up race, and even has a 29-19 lead among those who have made a firm decision to vote one way or the other. Bridgewater leads among leaners, the softest level of support, 17-15.
The media poll, on the other hand, shows almost the opposite result: Bridgewater leads 42-33 (MoE 4), with the pollster Dan Jones remarking that there are far too many undecideds for this late in the game, a number comparable with that found by Wenzel.
If we put the two polls together, we can guess that Republicans are having a hard time deciding between two men they like. It was easier when activists were uniting to throw Bob Bennett off the ballot, as was done at the convention, but he’s not on the ballot anymore and voters are having to think harder about their decision.
But still, how do we bridge the gap between these two polls which both cannot be correct? Wenzel polled self-identified likely voters. Jones polled “highly likely” voters. One possible theory is that Lee is going to bring out people who haven’t voted as much in recent years during the Republican trough.
Without having the complete questionnaires and methodology information that’s really all I can do is guess. But, we will know tomorrow which poll is closer to the truth, won’t we?
I’d watch for a last minute ad blitz in the state. With this many undecided, that could be a clincher. I also expect GOTV efforts to figure prominently in the final result.