Huntsman, Utah lieutenant gov neck and neck in governor’s race: poll
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox (R) are running neck and neck ahead of their gubernatorial primary next week, according to a new poll released by the Salt Lake Chamber.
Cox led the field with 30 percent support among likely voters, narrowly edging out Huntsman, who came in second with 29 percent, a 1-point margin that easily falls within the poll’s 2.77 point margin of error. The primary is set to take place on Tuesday.
Cox has a 5-point advantage among voters who already cast their ballots by mail, while Huntsman has a 2-point lead among those who hadn’t voted yet.
Former Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes came third in the overall poll with 15 percent, while former state GOP chair Thomas Wright came in last with 6 percent. Another 19 percent declined to say who they support.
“Turnout will be the deciding factor as it is in most every close election. There are many extraordinary dynamics that will likely affect voter turnout including COVID-19, civil unrest, and that this is the first election where voters can vote only by mail,” the pollster said.
The newest survey was just the latest poll to indicate a tight race between Hunstman and Cox. A Salt Lake Tribune-Suffolk University poll conducted in early June found the lieutenant governor with a 2-point edge over Huntsman with a margin of error of 4.4 points, and a recent KUTV-UtahPolicy.com survey found he had a 4-point lead with a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points.
The winner of the GOP primary will take on Democrat Chris Peterson in the general election to replace retiring Gov. Gary Herbert (R).
Cox has the high-profile endorsement of Herbert, but Huntsman still carries large name recognition from his one term as governor and his 2012 presidential campaign.
The Salt Lake Chamber poll surveyed 1,247 likely primary voters from June 17-24 and has a margin of error of 2.77 percent for the total crowd. Of those surveyed, 755 have yet to vote and 492 already voted, and each sample has a margin of error of 3.57 percent and 4.42 percent, respectively.