The governor’s race in Idaho is up for grabs, a new Idaho Politics Weekly survey shows.
Among all voters, Jones finds:
- 15 percent support for Ahlquist.
- 16 percent for Labrador.
- 11 percent for Little.
- 8 percent for Balukoff.
- 15 percent for Jordan.
- 2 percent for Troy Minton, a Democrat.
- 1 percent for Steve Pankey, a Republican
- 1 percent for Lisa Marie, a Republican.
- 1 percent for HyDee Leibelt, a Republican.
- 2 percent mentioned someone else.
- And a large 29 percent didn’t know who they may vote for this year.
The race is clearly open at this time, notes Dan Jones, who has polled in the Mountain West for 40 years.
The Idaho Republican Party holds closed primaries – that means you must be a registered Republican to vote in them.
However, unaffiliated, or independent, voters can register to vote on Election Day and pick up a GOP ballot.
Democrats hold open primaries, registered Democrats and independents can vote in that party’s primary elections.
For Republicans, then, it matters how a GOP candidate fairs among his own party members.
Jones finds that among Republicans:
- 21 percent support Ahlquist, a businessman and former emergency room physician.
- 25 percent like Labrador, who is giving up his 1st Congressional District seat this year to run for governor.
- And 17 percent like Little.
The other GOP candidates finish well back. And 31 percent of GOP voters – almost a third – haven’t picked a favorite Republican candidate yet.
- 27 percent like Balukoff.
- But a large 41 percent favor Jordan.
- While 4 percent like Minton.
Following President Donald Trump’s victory two years ago, there is a movement among Democrats to run and support female candidates. And certainly, Jordan’s early lead over Balukoff may reflect that.
Independents can vote in the Democratic primary without registering as a Democrat, so it matters a bit more whom they like in the primary contests.
Jones finds that among independents:
- 19 percent like Jordan.
- 13 percent favor Ahlquist.
- 12 percent like Labrador.
- 9 percent like Little.
- 9 percent like Balukoff.
The other candidates run well behind among independents. And 31 percent, almost one third, are undecided.
With large “undecideds” in all three categories – Republicans, Democrats, and independents – it is clear any one of the current leaders could move on to victory in either the May 15 party primary elections or November’s general election.
That means the candidates have about two months of campaigning before the primary whittles down the nominees.
Idaho is a very red state, and whoever wins the GOP gubernatorial primary has a good chance of being elected governor in November.
For now, Ahlquist is winning the advertising campaign for the GOP nomination.
Jones finds that:
- 59 percent of Idahoans say they have heard about Ahlquist through his ads.
- 48 percent say they’ve seen or heard a Labrador ad.
- And 47 percent say they’ve seen a Little ad.
But those are all voters.
For now, it’s important if your party voters have seen your ads. Among Republicans only:
- 62 percent have seen an Ahlquist ad.
- 49 percent have seen a Labrador ad.
- And 54 percent have seen a Little ad.
Only 11 percent of Republicans said they have NOT seen or heard a GOP candidate’s ad.
So the TV and radio markets are clearly getting to Republican voters in Idaho.
Among the Democrats:
- 35 percent have seen a Jordan ad.
- While 31 percent have seen or heard a Balukoff ad.
Overall, Jones finds that 24 percent of Idahoans can’t remember seeing or hearing a political ad for any of the gubernatorial candidates, whether that was on TV, radio, on billboards or online.
So three-fourths of all voters are being reached.
The question now is, are those ads turning some voters’ heads and getting them to consider the respective candidates for governor?
Finally, Jones also polled on the candidates for lieutenant governor. He finds a huge 67 percent of voters don’t know who they may vote for in the LG’s race.
- Steve Yates, Republican, 7 percent.
- Marv Hagedorn, Republican, 3 percent.
- Janice McGeachin, Republican, 5 percent.
- Kelley Packer, Republican, 9 percent.
- Bob Nonini, Republican, 3 percent.
- 6 percent mentioned someone else.
Jones polled 617 adults from Feb. 26 to March 15. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percent statewide.