New poll shows Love ahead of Matheson

2012-11-03T00:45:00Z 2012-11-08T06:24:32Z New poll shows Love ahead of MathesonBilly Hesterman - Daily Herald Daily Herald
November 03, 2012 12:45 am  • 

Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, has a lot of work to do to squeak out a win on Election Day if you believe the latest polls.

The Salt Lake Tribune and Matheson's campaign both released separate polls on Thursday with wide-ranging results. Both show Matheson has a battle on his hands to stay in Congress for a seventh term. The Tribune's poll showed Matheson trailing Love by 12 percentage points -- 52 percent to 40 percent -- going into the final days of the campaign. However, on Monday the Tribune corrected the poll numbers, which now show the race is a toss-up.

Matheson's internal poll showed him leading by 2 percentage points, 46 percent to 44 percent.

Matheson released a statement Thursday afternoon saying he recognized the count will be close on Tuesday night but that he still expects to win.

"There have been a lot of polling numbers circulating out there. I've always said that this will be a close race and my own poll reflects that. It also backs up my belief that voters want someone like me in Congress who will keep taxes low, support college student aid available for thousands of Utah students and who reaches across the aisle to be a constructive voice for getting things done," Matheson said.

What could be seen as troubling for Matheson is the fact that he still has yet to cross the 50 percent threshold in either poll.

"For an incumbent you'd like to be over that mark," said Matthew Burbank, associate political science professor at the University of Utah. "It is very concerning for the incumbent."

Burbank said that since it is not expected that the third party candidate, Jim Vein, will make much of a splash on the ballot, that the winner should get more than 50 percent of the votes on Tuesday. That means Matheson still has some work to do to earn another term in Congress.

"The Matheson campaign is in a tough position," Burbank said. "Not only do they need to work on getting voters to turn out but it appears they still have some persuasion to do."

Love spent the afternoon Thursday voting at the early voting location in Saratoga Springs. She waited in line for more than an hour to select her name on the electronic voting machine. After casting her vote she had an air of confidence for how things will turn out on Election Day.

"We're going to win. We are excited about it, certainly humbled and honored but we are going to work until the very, very end," Love said.

Polls about the race have been erratic throughout the campaign season. Both the Love and Matheson campaigns have released internal polls showing their own candidate in the lead. A Dan Jones and Associates poll in early October showed Love up 49 percent to 43 percent. A poll by Key Research released about two weeks ago showed the two tied at 43 percent.

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