The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee released an internal poll on the Utah Senate race today — the same day the state Legislature reconvenes to redraw the state’s Congressional district boundaries.
The result of this week’s redistricting session in Salt Lake City will have a major effect on whether Rep. Jim Matheson (D) runs for re-election or decides his odds are better running statewide, either for Senate or governor.
In a poll conducted for the DSCC last month by Anzalone Liszt Research, Matheson trailed Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) 48 percent to 42 percent. The poll of 802 registered voters was taken Sept. 7 to 15. A margin of error was not provided.
The DSCC is looking for any opportunity to expand the map as it clings to a 53-47 majority, with 23 seats to defend next year. A victory in Utah may be a stretch, but Matheson represents the party’s best chance at winning a Senate race there for the first time since 1970.
Hatch has raised money at a feverish pace this year in preparation for a competitive Republican convention in April. That continued even after Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) announced in August he was no longer planning to challenge the six-term incumbent. Hatch raised $1.6 million in the third quarter and had $4 million in cash on hand at the end of September. Matheson raised $165,000 and ended the quarter with $518,000 in the bank.
Matheson had a 66 percent job approval rating in the poll, and Hatch was not far behind at 62 percent. Matheson also had a slightly higher favorable rating at 64 percent to 57 percent for Hatch.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.