Poll: Herbert increasing lead in gubernatorial race

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A new poll reveals incumbent Gov. Gary Herbert is expanding his lead over Democrat Peter Corroon in Utah's gubernatorial race.

The Dan Jones & Associates poll for KSL and the Deseret News shows support for Herbert up four points since mid-September. It reveals Herbert currently holds a 25-point lead over Corroon -- 58 percent to 33 percent.

About a month ago, a similar poll showed Herbert up by 21 points -- 52 percent to 31 percent.


The difference between the two polls is within the 4-percent margin of error. At the very least, it shows a lack of progress for the Corroon campaign, according to pollster Randy Shumway.

"It's a hard year to be a Democrat," he says. "We're hearing that the negative advertising is turning people who might have supported Corroon off from the Corroon campaign."

The tag "negative campaigning" has been applied to Corroon's constant criticism of a UDOT construction contract tied to a Herbert campaign contributor.

Governor of Utah

Gary Herbert (R)58%
Peter Corroon (D)33%
Other/Don't Know9%
Dan Jones & Assoc.<br>Margin of error +/- 4%

On Thursday's edition of KSL NewsRadio's Doug Wright Show, Corroon likened the deal to those overseen by former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Now, far from being regretful, Corroon says he's just working to point out a culture of "business as usual" at the State Capitol.

"I know the governor is uncomfortable about what we've been talking about. But everything we've been talking about is the facts and no one is disputing the facts," Corroon says. "I think it's important that people know what's been going on up at the Capitol."

I will say that people are responding positively to Gov. Herbert and to his term in office and to his good, positive campaign he's running.

–Don Olsen

For Gov. Herbert's campaign, reaction is more subtle -- a quiet satisfaction at the latest poll numbers. The 25-point spread is comfortable by most accounts. But the campaign knows the race isn't over yet.

"I will say that people are responding positively to Gov. Herbert and to his term in office and to his good, positive campaign he's running," says campaign spokesman Don Olsen.

The clock is ticking on this campaign -- with a little more than two weeks before Election Day. That's very little time for a challenger like Corroon to close that 25-point gap, but it's still possible.

Gov. Herbert and Mayor Corroon will face each other in a KSL 5 Town Hall Debate at the University of Utah's Libby Garden Concert Hall Tuesday. The debate, moderated by Bruce Lindsay, will air live beginning at 6 p.m.

E-mail: rpiatt@ksl.com

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