Is there going to be a blue wave in Utah this November?
And even if there is, will it mean much in such a very red state?
Politicos are debating these questions now.
But how about we look at some statistics provided by pollster Dan Jones & Associates and the Utah Elections Office.
First off, Utah is a very Republican state.
Of the 1.3 million registered voters, 651,000 are Republicans, 467,700 are political independents (they don’t belong to any political party), and only 161,000 are registered Democrats.
Now, to be fair, the Utah Republican Party demands that only registered Republicans can vote in their primaries or attend their precinct caucus meetings.
So there is an incentive to be a registered Republican. Whereas Democrats let independents vote in their primaries and attend their caucuses.
No real incentive to be a registered Democrat.
Still, five-to-one, Republicans outnumber Democrats in Utah.
But here is an interesting statistic this year:
Democrats are much more motivated to be active politically, especially to vote.
Jones asks in his demographic questions how interested a registered voter is, on a 1-to-10 scale, one being not interested at all and ten being very interested.
In his latest poll for UtahPolicy.com, only 31 percent of Republicans said they are “very interested” in this year’s midterm elections.
That compares to 46 percent of Democrats (nearly half).
Only 32 percent of independents are No. 10s, or “very interested” in this year’s elections.
If you add up the folks who said they are either 10, 9 or 8 on the “interested” scale, you get these numbers:
Republicans, 62 percent on the interested side of the equation.
Political independents, only 54 percent.
Democrats come in at 78 percent “interested” in the midterm elections.
With Republican voters so outnumbering Democrats – even independents – in many parts of the state, even uninterested GOP voters will still outvote a Democrat on the ballot.
But in close races for the U.S. House, especially in some legislative races, the so-called “blue wave” as measured by Jones could make the difference.
The only U.S. House race in this category is the 4th District, now held by GOP Rep. Mia Love, who is being challenged by Democratic Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams.
Jones’ polls show Love is still ahead of McAdams by 4 percentage points – but with the margin of error, it could be tied.
But look at these 4th district numbers:
Among Republicans, only 37 percent said they are “very interested” in this election (a 10).
Among Democrats, it is 54 percent.
And political independents, only 29 percent said they are “very interested.”
You add up the 10, 9 and 8 numbers on the “interested” scale, and you get:
Republicans, 68 percent.
Democrats, 75 percent.
Independents, 61 percent.
Again, you see the possible blue wave.
Now, Love will have the campaign funds to run a good GOP turn-out-the-vote effort. And she may be helped by the popular Mitt Romney on the Republican ballot for the U.S. Senate.
However, Romney is likely so far ahead of Democrat Jenny Wilson, that the ho-hum Romney lovers could afford to stay home Nov. 6 and not worry about their guy losing the race – he’s going to win unless something catastrophic happens.
No doubt the drag on GOP excitement this year is President Donald Trump, who is not well-liked in Utah – even though it is a red state.
In the 4th District, 60 percent of voters disapprove of Trump, only 37 percent approve of the job he’s doing.
So, Jones’ poll numbers show Utah Democrats are excited about voting this year; Republicans not so much.
We’ll see if enough Utah voters catch the blue wave to make a difference in some races.