Salt Lake City Mayor’s positive ratings overshadowed by opponent’s as race tightens

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Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker is viewed favorably by more than half of the city’s likely voters, but his opponent, Jackie Biskupski still has him beat, according to the latest UtahPolicy.com survey.

This ever-widening disparity is leaving many to wonder if the incumbent, Becker, can take home a win and a third term as Salt Lake City’s mayor after the Nov. 3 election.

Becker currently enjoys a +12 net favorability rating (56 percent favorable/44 percent unfavorable), according to the survey.

However, Biskupski is leading with an impressive +40 net favorability rating (70 percent favorable/30 percent unfavorable).

“Those aren’t bad numbers for Becker as he’s a two-term incumbent,” said Savanna Jones, a BYU senior studying political science with a background in voting behavior and public opinion. “They suggest that the public may not be dissatisfied with how he has done in office, they may just be looking for a change.”

Becker’s favorability numbers have trended downward among likely voters according to a UtahPolicy.com poll conducted in mid-October. When compared, the two polls show his negative ratings have risen by nine percent over the past two weeks. At the same time, Biskupski’s net-favorable rating has gone up three points, while her overall favorable rating has gone up by 10 points.

The survey also shows that Republican voters closely share favorable views of Becker (53 percent) and Biskupski (45 percent). However, Democrats and Independents overwhelmingly favor Biskupski (83 percent of Democrats and 69 percent of Independents) to Becker (63 percent of Democrats and 50 percent of Independents) by approximately 20 percent.

According to Jones, these numbers suggest Becker is going to need far more Republicans than he is currently attracting to turn out for him in the polls to win a third term.

Becker seems to understand this and is catering most of his campaign to Republican voters.

Biskupski also outpaces Becker along gender lines.

She enjoys a +32 favorability rating among men (66 percent favorable/34 percent unfavorable) and +48 rating among women (74 percent favorable, 26 percent unfavorable).

In comparison, Becker has a +6 favorable rating among men (53 percent favorable/47 percent unfavorable) and +18 rating among women (58 percent favorable/41 percent unfavorable).

All of this has come with Biskupski has outraising Becker by a nearly two-to-one margin over the past two months, while Becker has outspent her overall by almost the same score.

The monetary difference came to a total of $225,496.10 during the two-month period from Aug. 27 – Oct. 27.
“All told, Becker has a lot of ground to cover with voters in a short amount of time,” Jones said. “From what it looks like, the answer may not be to spend more money.”
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