Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight adds fourth-party candidate Evan McMullin to its polling schematic for the first time. McMullin has risen to 18.1% in Silver’s polling average for Utah, giving him a small—but not impossible—chance at winning his home state’s six electoral votes.
[W]hile McMullin may not be showing Trump and Clinton’s numbers, it’s the sharp increase in interest that’s spurned major polling organizations to suddenly count McMullin among potential Utah winners. McMullin has surged rapidly since the second Presidential debate, while Donald Trump has collapsed — and McMullin is still at only 52% name recognition in the state.
The company isn’t sure what has precipitated this incredible search term growth, but reasons could range from last Friday’s Access Hollywood tapes, depicting Donald Trump making lewd comments about women, to a sudden interest among Bernie Sanders supporters in denying Hillary Clinton Vermont’s 3 electoral votes.
McMullin’s campaign is optimistic that the “tech boom” is a good omen. “It’s a fact that Americans are unhappy with the two major party candidates, and we’ve seen a surge of interest in Evan McMullin and Mindy Finn recently, not just in Utah but nationally,” McMullin digital director Sarah Rumpf told Heat Street.