Poll: Matheson's chances for reelection still good

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SALT LAKE CITY -- In spite of a challenge that pushed him into a primary battle, Utah Congressman Jim Matheson still has a good chance of winning next Tuesday's primary.

That's according to a new Dan Jones poll for KSL and the Deseret News.

The poll is the final look at voters' opinions in advance of the primary. It shows Matheson is leading his primary challenger, Claudia Wright, by 19 points.

That's a sizable lead that shows Matheson's support is still strong across the state.

The poll of 409 likely Democratic primary voters shows Matheson in the lead with 52 percent over Wright's 33 percent. Fifteen percent of voters say they're undecided right now.

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The results show Matheson's political strength but also reflect a sizable dissatisfaction from those Democrats who say they support Wright.

Both candidates addressed those differences during Friday afternoon's taping of KSL's Sunday Edition program with Bruce Lindsay.

"I believe that in fact over the past decade, my opponent has moved consistently to the right," said Wright. "That was made very evident on the mass meetings March 23 when his representatives across the state were heckled and booed."

Matheson shot back, saying he's always been straight with his supporters.

"One thing I've always been proud of in my career in public service is what I've always told people, and that is, I am what I am," he said. "I run on the politics and values and an approach that I learned from my mom and dad. I told people, ‘You shouldn't expect to agree with me on every issue, but you should expect that I take a thoughtful and common-sense approach to every issue."

Our poll also asked those voters how they rated the candidates' views.

Matheson has been criticized as not being democrat or liberal enough.

  • 53 percent of voters said Matheson is 'not liberal enough'
  • 22 percent said Claudia Wright is 'too liberal'
  • 40 percent said Matheson is 'about right'
  • 49 percent said Claudia Wright is 'about right'

Wright is taking Matheson on when it comes to health care, immigration, the BP oil spill and more.

Hear the entire conversation on Sunday Edition at 9 a.m. on KSL 5.

E-mail: rpiatt@ksl.com

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