A new UtahPolicy poll shows why major candidates in close races this year are staying away from both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton – as the controversial presidential candidates are toxic to many Utah voters.
Pollster Dan Jones & Associates finds that 45 percent of Utahns say they are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports Trump, the Republican, while 66 percent say they are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports Clinton.
Of course, partisanship plays a big part in these responses – there are nearly double the number of Republicans in Utah than Democrats.
Still, the new survey shows just how unpopular Trump is in this very red state.
And the survey makes it clear why Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, is not endorsing Trump in her close 4th District race, while Democratic challenger Doug Owens is staying away from Clinton, as well.
In Salt Lake County – home to the 4th District – 50 percent of the voters said they are less likely to vote for a candidate who endorses Trump, while 55 percent say they are less liable to vote for a candidate who supports Clinton, Jones finds.
Here are some interesting numbers:
Statewide, 23 percent of Republicans said they are LESS likely to vote for a local/state candidate who endorses Trump, their own party’s presidential nominee.
Only 6 percent of Democrats said they are less likely to support a local/state candidate who supports Clinton.
While Utah is a red state, there are contests where votes by political independents (not belonging to any political party) make the difference between winning and losing.
59 percent of independent Utah voters said they are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports Trump.
56 percent of independent candidates said they are less likely to support a candidate who supports Clinton.
Given the chance that you could lose half of the independent voters in your race, it is a no-brainer for any local GOP or Democratic candidate to stay away from endorsing their own party’s presidential nominee.
Best to talk about advancing public education, building roads or having increased police and fire protection.
The poll’s results are just one reason you find GOP Gov. Gary Herbert saying he’s voting for Trump, but refuses to formally endorse him – a rather strange verbal difference.
And U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who like Herbert is more than 40 percentage points ahead of his Democratic challenger and should be safe with such a Trump endorsement, also refused to endorse his party’s presidential candidate.
Why anger a quarter of voters in your own party and more than half of political independents, even if you have a huge lead in your race?
For Love and Owens, it would almost be political suicide to run around praising your party’s presidential candidates – independent 4th District voters will likely decide that race.
Statewide, Jones polled 605 likely voters from Sept. 1-9. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.98 percent.