House races

Poll: Dem candidate leads Mia Love by 6 points

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Freshman Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) is trailing Democratic candidate and attorney Doug Owens by 6 points in a rematch for her targeted House seat, a new poll finds.

Owens received support from 51 percent of likely voters compared to 45 percent for Love, according to the Salt Lake Tribune/Hinckley Institute poll conducted by SurveyUSA found. Four percent said they were undecided or supporting a third-party candidate.

Love’s campaign questioned the poll’s unexpected results.

“I don’t believe the numbers to be honest with you,” strategist Dave Hansen told The Salt Lake Tribune. “The numbers just do not make sense.”

Owens embraced the results, saying, “it’s clear that voters want a chance.”

“I’m excited by the outpouring of support from my fellow Utahns,” Owens said. “I’m not taking anything for granted. We’re working hard every day for every vote.”

SurveyUSA’s Jay Leve said the presidential race is likely having an impact on the race.

When the survey was conducted, presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump was coming under fire for his comments about an Indiana-born federal judge’s “Mexican heritage.”

Love, a rising star in the Republican Party and the first black female Republican in Congress, narrowly defeated Owens in 2014 by several points in a year with major Republican gains.

The Cook Political Report lists Love’s seat as leaning Republican.

Democrats have targeted Love for defeat.

Earlier this year, Owens was added to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s (DCCC) “Red to Blue” program, which targets specific House districts that it thinks the party can flip.

Love’s campaign hit a few speed bumps late last year when she came under fire for billing taxpayers for flights to Washington from Salt Lake City. She said she’d repay taxpayers more than $1,000 for weekend flights she took to attend the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner last spring.

Democrats feel emboldened about their prospects of taking back the House majority and are hoping for a wave election with presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump at the top of the ticket.

Still, it’s a tall order for the Democratic Party which will need to net 30 seats to regain control of the lower chamber. The party will need to win seats similar to Love’s if they want a shot at a House majority.

The poll was conducted from June 2 to 8 and surveyed 573 likely voters via robo-call. The margin of error was 4.2 percentage points. 

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