Hageman ahead of Cheney by big margin in Star-Tribune poll

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Jul. 16—CHEYENNE — In the Republican race to represent Wyoming in the U.S. House of Representatives, a new and independent poll shows there is a clear front-runner: Harriet Hageman.

In what is possibly the first such polling, funded by those without a personal, political or financial stake in the race, the current sole member of the House from Wyoming is well behind the environmental attorney trying to replace her. The new poll, sponsored by the Casper Star-Tribune, shows U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., is poised to lose in the Aug. 16 GOP primary.

Cheney trails Hageman 52% to 30%, the Star-Tribune reported on its website Friday afternoon. The survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy included some 1,100 registered voters who the newspaper said are likely to participate in the primary. Respondents were queried July 7-11, which the paper noted was shortly after early voting got underway statewide.

The results are broadly consistent with other polls taken by organizations with a potential stake in the race's outcome. While theoretically possible, it would be highly unlikely for Cheney to somehow make up for the substantial gap between her and Hageman and prevail in the primary, Brad Coker from Mason-Dixon Polling told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.

"I wouldn't bet my house, but I'd bet my car" on Cheney not winning another term in Congress, Coker said by phone. "They don't have a lot of upward mobility," he said of incumbents generally. Short of a major development in the race, one that was highly unfavorable to Hageman, the pollster said it is unlikely Cheney would win re-election.

"I think they already know the writing is on the wall" and that Cheney may lose, Coker said of her campaign. "She may lose the election, but I suspect she'll probably come out pretty good in the long run, at least on the financial side."

Cheney could make big money in the private sector, noted Coker, whose firm conducts polls for media organizations, public relations providers, trade associations and others. There has also been speculation she could seek higher office. Cheney's campaign did not comment on the poll results.

In recent weeks, Cheney has heightened her already high national profile by helping to lead hearings in Congress into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by backers of then-President Donald Trump. By contrast, Hageman is supported by Trump, who came to Casper over Memorial Day weekend to stump for the candidate and to attack Cheney. Just over half of poll respondents say they are less likely to support her because she's a member of the Jan. 6 select committee, the Casper paper said.

Other candidates

The Star-Tribune reported the poll found 11% of voters were undecided.

That is half of the margin by which Hageman would beat Cheney, assuming the poll is borne out by actual voting results. The survey's margin of error is 3 percentage points.

State Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, was backed by some 5% of those surveyed. That made him the third most-popular candidate, according to a chart in the Star-Tribune.

Speaking by phone, Bouchard seemed skeptical of this polling. He said he thought the polling company had previously incorrectly predicted that Hillary Clinton would have won the 2016 presidential election, which she actually lost to Trump. The polling firm replied that it had not done any such polling.

"The real poll is on Election Day," Bouchard said. He said he is remaining in the race.

The other GOP candidates, Robyn Belinskey and Denton Knapp, each reportedly polled at about 1%. All five Republican candidates recently debated each other.

Cheney has not had a shortage of money to run her race, and Hageman also has reported a relatively high amount of fundraising. Disclosure forms for the second quarter are coming due at the Federal Election Commission. They had not yet been posted by the FEC as of Friday afternoon.

Cheney's campaign said Friday it had gotten some $2.9 million in second-quarter contributions, and that it has almost $7 million on hand. The campaign said it planned to submit to the FEC its disclosures later on Friday.

Hageman's campaign announced Thursday it had raised some $1.8 million in the three-month period, which ended June 30. The organization said it enters "the final month of the primary election campaign with $1.4 million in cash on hand."

This story has been further updated with a pollster responding to concerns from state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne.

Jonathan Make is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle's assistant managing editor and editor of the Wyoming Business Report. He can be reached at jmake@wyomingnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @makejdm.