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Utah President: It’s a Three-Way Tie

Monday, October 17, 2016

Utah hasn’t supported a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964, but new polling suggests that it could help elect one this year.

A new Heat Street/Rasmussen Reports telephone and online survey of Likely Utah Voters finds the presidential race is a virtual three-way tie: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump earns just 30% support to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 28%, with spoiler candidate Evan McMullin, a Republican turned independent, picking up 29%.

Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson gets five percent (5%) of the vote, and Green Party nominee Jill Stein earns one percent (1%). Two percent (2%) like some other candidate in the race, and four percent (4%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

McMullin, a former CIA operative, Goldman Sachs investment banker and senior House Republican staffer, says he is the true conservative in the race. He’s also a Mormon in a heavily Mormon state. If McMullin wins Utah on Election Day, it would deny Trump perhaps the most reliably Republican state in the country and cost him six much-needed electoral votes.

Trump leads McMullin by just seven points – 45% to 38% - among Utah Republicans. Clinton gets five percent (5%) of the GOP vote and 87% of Democrats. Among voters not affiliated with either major party, it’s Clinton 28%, McMullin 28% and Trump 23%.

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The survey of 750 Likely Voters in Utah was conducted on October 14-16, 2016 by HeatStreet/Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Senator Mike Lee, one of Utah’s two GOP U.S. senators, was an early Ted Cruz supporter and has never endorsed Trump.  Lee called for Trump to quit the race following the recent release of a video showing him making graphic sexual remarks about women. The state’s Republican governor, Gary Herbert, and GOP Congressman Jason Chaffetz also have come out against their party’s nominee.

Forty-six percent (46%) of Utah Republicans approve of the state’s GOP leaders disavowing Trump as the party’s presidential candidate. Nearly as many (43%) disapprove. Eleven percent (11%) are undecided.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) acknowledge that the vote in Utah is more important this year than it has been in past elections. Only three percent (3%) of Republicans think it’s less important, while 27% rate its level of importance as about the same.

Trump is viewed Very Favorably by just 12% of all Utah voters and Very Unfavorably by 54%. Similarly, Clinton earns Very Favorables of 12% and Very Unfavorables of 60%.

Twenty-two percent (22%) have a Very Favorable opinion of McMullin, while just eight percent regard him Very Unfavorably. But 15% say they have never heard of the independent candidate at this late date, and another eight percent (8%) don’t know enough about him to venture any kind of opinion.

Both Johnson and Stein are seen more unfavorably than favorably by voters in the Beehive State.

Trump leads among men in Utah but runs third behind Clinton and McMullin among women.

McMullin is ahead among voters under 40, while Trump leads among senior citizens. The top three candidates are in a near tie among middle-aged voters.

The independent runs stronger than the two major party candidates among married voters and those with children in their home.

A growing number of Republican officials are asking Trump to drop out of the presidential race because of the video and the other allegations, and one-out-of-four GOP voters think that's a good idea. Most do not, and Trump supporters overwhelmingly second that emotion.

Most Republican voters think top GOP leaders are hurting the party with their continuing criticism of Trump, and 51% still believe that those leaders don’t want Trump to be president.

Clinton has slipped back into the lead nationally in Rasmussen Reports’ latest White House Watch survey.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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