Straw poll: Insiders say Cox is favorite to be Utah’s next governor

Utah Governor Mansion

Our “Political Insiders” and readers expect Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox to be elected governor in 2020 according to our latest straw poll.

Cox was the top pick among our Republican and Democratic insiders, as well as our readers. But, after that, there was little consensus.


  • Former Speaker Greg Hughes was picked by 11% of the Republicans on our panel, which is the same number of Republicans who picked “someone else.”
  • 9% of the Democrats who responded to our survey picked current Gov. Gary Herbert. 6% of Democrats think the next governor will be a Democrat, while the same number say Greg Hughes will be elected next year. 5% picked businessman Greg Miller.
  • Provo businessman Jeff Burningham was the second choice among our readers, followed by Greg Hughes.

The straw poll was taken prior to our story that former Gov. Jon Huntsman was considering returning to Utah to run for Governor in 2020.


Selected anonymous comments:

If not Gary Herbert who?  I could support Spencer Cox as well.  Some on the list would be an absolute disaster…especially for education.

The Greg Hughes poll numbers (1%) back in January were devastating. He had been gaining support among some key insiders and donors until those poll results were released.

It’s time for a change in Utah. We’ve had the same team leading the state for 15 years. The state has changed dramatically and it’s time for our leadership to change, too. We have new problems that require new solutions. Not the same ol’, same ol’. The old team cannot be innovative enough to take us into the future. We need fresh ideas. Also, economies cycle and Utah has been riding an economic boom created by our own innovative private sector. The boom cannot continue indefinitely and, moving forward, we will need leadership that understands how the economy works. Reading and building the economy is a skill that isn’t learned in government. It’s learned in the trenches of the economy. I think Utah will elect a business leader, a political outsider. And that will be good for Utah.

Hughes will be tough to beat once he starts to connect with voters.

If Chaffetz runs his experience in Washington and fundraising connections will give him the edge.

If Chaffetz decides to run, he’s the one to beat. If his Fox News salary is in seven figures, he ain’t running and Lt. Gov. Cox will be the next Governor.

There are still several pieces that may shuffle on the board but it isn’t difficult to envision Chris Stewart getting a Trump administration job he’s been positioning himself for over the past year. That opens his seat which is a much better fit for Greg Hughes. Chaffetz will ultimately realize he is well known, but not well liked. That clears away two of the biggest challenges to Spencer Cox, who will be in a primary no matter what and that’s his wheelhouse.

If Greg Miller enters, it’s his to lose.

Jason Chaffetz will get a lot of support from the extreme wing but I think saner heads will prevail when the primary election is held.

Greg Hughes can will anything into existence. Nobody works harder than he does. He seems like a long shot now, but wait until he gets going.

Spencer is the right man for the job. He has the best temperament and will truly be a representative of all Utahns.

Spencer Cox is undoubtedly the most prepared candidate in the race, but that’s not why he’ll win. The intensity of his support is higher than about any other politico in Utah, and he’ll ride that momentum to victory… even when other self-funding candidates spend more.

The Hunstman-Herbert-Cox dynasty is getting stale and there is a hunger to shake up the good old boy’s network.

Jeff Burningham is a rising star who is an ordinary guy being his best and who is about helping Utah be it’s best. Little policial baggage. Will do what is best for Utah. not for any other purpose.

Expect a 4-5 way primary on the GOP side. Cox wins.

In what looks like it may be a crowded field, I still think Spencer Cox is the stand out candidate with experience in the private sector, local government, the legislature, and as Lieutenant Governor. He can unify all Utahns – rural and urban, old and young, liberal and conservative,, and would continue Utah’s unusual legacy of choosing the best of the best statesmen to run our state. He really represents the future of Utah.

Herbert walks the line between different factions of the party.  Cox will do the same thing. Neither is perfect, but they are light years more balanced, reasonable, and electable than most of the names on that list.

Spencer Cox’s success will hinge on whether or not he can convince moderates and unaffiliated voters to register as Republican for the primaries.

People need to look into Jeff Burningham as a serious contender and find out what he is all about.

This assumes Governor Herbert doesn’t seek a fourth term.  I suspect he will.

Cox represents the good of what the Republican Party once was, which means the tribal mentality of the SCC and their allies will fervently oppose him. A Spencer-Aimee ticket is intriguing.

Jeff Burningham is making slow progress among the delegates and other insiders. Watch him to act as a possible spoiler in the race.

Chaffetz has universal name ID among Utah Republicans. He is undoubtedly the frontrunner in the race no matter what anyone says.

Burningham is going to surprise a lot of people.

I’ll be voting for the Democratic nominee, but realistic it’s going to be a Republican. I pray it’s either Spencer Cox or Aimee Winder Newton because all of the others are off the charts terrible.