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In the aftermath of Rep. Chris Cannon's primary defeat, many pundits, activists and news stories have declared that Cannon's moderate immigration stance cost him a seventh term in Congress.
A vocal crew clamored to label it an anti-undocumented immigration victory.
"Cannon's pro-amnesty crown finally became an albatross," NumbersUSA Executive Director Roy Beck wrote supporters. "No amount of advertising claiming that blue is red and that amnesties are not amnesties apparently could fool the voters this time."
The election "was, without a doubt, the greatest electoral victory of the immigration-control movement," proclaimed a story in the conservative newsletter Human Events.
And Rep. Tom Tancredo, a Colorado Republican who has made a crusade of opposing undocumented immigration, said Cannon's loss "sends a very clear message."
Not so fast.
While Cannon certainly lost the voters who described themselves as having a more hard-line view on immigration, he also lost among those who said they had a softer view on how to deal with millions of undocumented immigrants, according to an exit poll by Brigham Young University's Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy.
It appears the election simply did not, as some have argued, hinge on immigration.
"It may be a victory for them, but that's different than saying that's the reason he lost," says Quin Monson, assistant director of the center. "I'm sure they're celebrating for whatever reason, but there's not a lot of evidence" to support their claims the issue brought down Cannon.
Roughly the same number of voters who were highly concerned about immigration in 2006, when Cannon won his last primary, showed up this time, when Cannon got whipped. Exit poll results show that more of those who said they had a tougher view on undocumented immigrants voted for Cannon's opponent, Jason Chaffetz, but a majority of those who backed plans like a guest-worker program also favored Chaffetz.
Poll numbers point to voters' overall dissatisfaction with government and their own situation. Nearly 70 percent of respondents said the nation was on the wrong track, and a full one-third said their family's financial situation was worse off than a year ago.
Moreover, large majorities of those who said the country was on the wrong track and said their families' finances were worse voted for Chaffetz over Cannon.
Also, overall, 70 percent of respondents said Chaffetz was the best person to change Washington, while 30 percent picked Cannon.
The exit poll of 1,200 primary voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.
Chaffetz took 60 percent of the vote total on Tuesday, and Cannon 40 percent.
Cannon himself says that while some people certainly showed up at the polls because of their immigration standpoint, one of the main causes of his loss was that most people stayed home.
"The real problem is nobody got out to vote," Cannon said Friday.
Districtwide turnout was less than 10 percent.
Chaffetz agreed immigration was not the only issue that did Cannon in, but said it was among the primary concerns for voters.
"Immigration was a top-tier issue along with an uncontrolled debt and $4 [per gallon] gasoline," Chaffetz said. "Up until eight weeks out, immigration was on top, but I was very purposeful that it didn't become just about immigration."
Political scientist Monson has pored over the exit polls.
"It wasn't immigration that did him in," Monson said.
There are several likely reasons for Cannon's loss in a state that rarely turns out incumbents, he believes.
Cannon didn't do enough from 2006 to 2008 to improve his image with voters, he said.
At the same time, Chaffetz ran a nearly textbook campaign, especially when compared to past Cannon primary challengers.
Two years ago, anti-undocumented immigration candidate John Jacob's campaign suffered a sort of implosion after he said Satan was working against his campaign.
Finally, President Bush's endorsement this time didn't carry the weight it did three years ago. Cannon picked up a majority of voters who said they strongly approved of the president, but Chaffetz won among voters in every other category of judgments on the president's performance.
"There's a lot going on here. Immigration is just one of many factors and all of these factors conspire to create a rather significant" change in dynamic, said Kelly Patterson, director of the BYU elections center. "They [immigration foes] can hitch their wagon to that change theme, but they're not driving it."