Poll: Utah voters overwhelmingly support allowing candidates to gather signatures to get on the ballot

By one of the largest margins in the three years of polling in Utah, voters favor SB54, the compromise law that allows candidates to choose either a signature-gathering or delegate/convention route to a party’s primary ballot.

A new “flash” poll by UtahPolicy.com’s pollster – Dan Jones & Associates – finds that among all voters, 70 percent say they want to keep SB54 the state law.

Only 19 percent want SB54 repealed by the Legislature, with GOP Gov. Gary Herbert agreeing.

While 11 percent don’t know.


The 70-19 percent – a margin of 51 percentage points – is one of the highest pro-SB54 super-majorities found in public opinion polling since the 2014 GOP-controlled Legislature approved the compromise between lawmakers and the backers of the then-Count My Vote citizen initiative petition.

If you recall, the petition – which also saw large majority support among the citizenry – would have done away with the caucus/delegate/convention route for candidates.

Like many other states, the CMV petition would have allowed only a voter signature route for all candidates.

So, SB54 saved the delegate/convention route for those candidates who chose that primary path.

The new Jones poll also finds support for SB54 among all demographic groups:

— Those who self-identified to Jones that they are members of the Utah Republican Party favor keeping the SB54 signature candidate route, 67-20 percent, with 13 percent don’t know.

— Democrats really favor keeping SB54, 71-19 percent, with 10 percent unknowns.

— Political independents want to keep SB54’s dual-route process, 75-15 percent, with 10 percent don’t knows.

It’s been generally believed that “very conservative” Utahns, the right of the Republican Party, are those most in support of the antiquated caucus/delegate/convention process.

But Jones finds even among the “very conservative” Utahns, 60 percent favor keeping SB54, 29 percent want it repealed, while 12 percent don’t know.

— Among the “somewhat conservative” voters, SB54 is favored 70-18 percent.

— “Moderates” favor the dual-pathway law, 78-13 percent.

— Those who told Jones they are “somewhat liberal,” 73-18 percent.

— And those who say they are “very liberal” politically favor it, 67-14 percent.

You may notice that those to the very extreme of the political scales – very conservative or very liberal — are the least enthusiastic about an alternative, voter signature path to a party primary – although even those give healthy majorities to SB54.

That’s because those political extremes are the ones most likely to be Republican delegates or Democratic delegates.

And they wish to keep the power for themselves to pick their party nominees.

Those more toward the middle of the political spectrum – who may not want to take the time or effort to become delegates – are more likely to love SB54, because as party primary voters they wish to make their own decisions at the ballot box on party nominees.

Any time you find super-majorities – above two-thirds – in favor of an idea, position or candidate, you know that even with traditional statistical margins of errors in polls you have a firm majority of the public in favor of the polled question.

Jones polled 603 adults from May 15-16. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.99 percent.