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Utah: Matheson Trails Love in New Poll

Utah Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson trails Republican challenger Mia Love in a new poll. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Utah Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson trails Republican challenger Mia Love in a new poll. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love could be pulling away from Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson in the race for Utah’s 4th district.

Love led Matheson by 12 points, 52 percent to 40 percent, in a new poll conducted for the Salt Lake Tribune. Just 9 percent of Republicans surveyed backed Matheson, which is not enough in a district Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is expected to carry with ease.

However, the Matheson campaign released a poll Thursday night — just hours ahead of the Tribune poll’s release — that showed him ahead by 2 points.

These two polls can’t both be right, but both national parties have been spending here as if the race is close.

The fight for this reconfigured district has invited more than $6 million in independent expenditures, including late spending from the Democratic-aligned House Majority PAC and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee. Romney’s presence at the top of the ticket is among the reasons Republicans are optimistic here despite Matheson’s record of winning Republican-leaning districts every two years.

“Romney is winning [Utah] by such a big margin, and Republican voters are coming out because of Romney,” Brad Coker, managing director of the Mason-Dixon polling firm that conducted the survey, told the Tribune. “It’s just not a good year to be a Democrat in Utah.”

The Tribune poll of 625 likely voters was conducted Oct. 29-31 with a 4-point margin of error. Matheson’s poll was conducted by Democratic firm Anzalone Liszt Research, which surveyed 600 likely voters Oct. 26-30 with a 4-point margin of error.

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