GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump admits he has a “tremendous problem” with Utah voters, and a new UtahPolicy poll shows that half of all Beehive State Republicans are at least considering third-party candidates.
That is a surprising defection for Utah Republicans, who can usually be counted on to support their national party’s primary candidate.
Pollster Dan Jones & Associates finds in a new survey that among Utah Republicans:
50 percent said they “definitely” or “probably” will consider a third party (or independent) presidential candidate this year.
The question excludes consideration of the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton.
47 percent of Utah Republicans said they would not consider anyone else than their party nominee, Donald Trump.
And 3 percent of Republicans didn’t know.
Of course, the key demographic in the question is what Utah Republicans are thinking about Trump and alternatives to the billionaire businessman.
And it shows many are wishy-washy at best where Trump is concerned.
But Jones also finds that among political independents:
65 percent are considering voting for a minor party candidate rather than Trump.
32 percent of independents said Trump being the GOP nominee doesn’t mean they will look to a minor party candidate.
And 3 percent of independents don’t know.
It makes sense that many Utah Democrats are sticking with their party’s nominee, Clinton. So they don’t have to consider a minor party candidate just because the unpopular Trump is the GOP nominee.
34 percent said that Trump being on the ballot means they will at least consider a third party presidential candidate.
64 percent said no, Trump makes no difference to them, and they are not looking to a third party.
And 2 percent of Utah Democrats don’t know.
Among all Utahns, Jones found:
53 percent are looking at a minor party candidate because Trump is the GOP nominee.
43 percent statewide said Trump makes no difference to them; they are not looking at a third party candidate.
And 4 percent statewide likely voters don’t know.
Trump got in trouble with Utah voters early on this election cycle when he took out after illegal immigrants, calling Mexicans immigrants “rapists” and such.
By some accounts, half of all the active Mormons in the world have some Hispanic connections.
He then further alienated Utah voters by saying all Muslims should be kept out of the country until federal officials “understood” what was going on with terrorist attacks.
Leaders of the LDS Church responded to Trump’s Muslim-ban statement, reiterating a public declaration by the faith’s founder, Joseph Smith, that good people of all faiths, including Muslims, were welcome in Nauvoo, Ill., during the 1840s when that Mormon city was growing.
And Mormons’ problems with Trump are seen when Jones asked “very active” members of the faith if they were looking this year at minor party candidates:
57 percent of Utah’s active Mormons said they were considering a minor party or independent candidates.
40 percent said they were not.
And 3 percent of active Mormons didn’t know.
A previous Jones poll released last week shows that if the election were held today, Trump would get 39 percent of the vote and win the state’s six Electoral College votes.
Clinton would get just 24 percent – the Democratic base in Utah.
Independent Party candidate Gary Johnson, a former New Mexico GOP governor, would get 13 percent.
Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, has 0 percent support.
Evan McMullin, a write-in GOP candidate from Utah, has 9 percent support.
Constitution Party candidate Darrell Castle has 2 percent.
Six percent would support some other candidate.
And 7 percent of Utahns don’t know who they are going to vote for for president.
Thus, as it now stands, Trump is on top here, even though half of Utah Republicans will at least consider a minor party candidate.
Johnson is already running TV ads here. And the new survey shows there is some fertile ground for him to be explored over the next two months.
Jones polled 605 likely voters between Step. 1-9. The survey has a margin of error statewide of plus or minus 3.98 percent.