The last time Utah voted for a Democrat for president was Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1964. The Beehive State’s 56-year streak of voting for Republicans for president may be in real danger according to a new poll.
The UtahPolicy.com/KUTV 2 News survey conducted by Y2 Analytics finds Republican Donald Trump leading presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden by just 3 points, 44-41 percent. 8 percent of likely voters say they would support a third-party candidate. 5 percent were undecided while 1 percent picked another candidate.
The close race is likely a factor of Trump’s unpopularity instead of rising support for Biden. Trump’s lead shrunk 2 points from our April survey showing him leading Biden 46-41 percent.
Trump’s poor showing in Utah is in line with 2016 when he carried the state with just 45.5 percent. Clearly, Trump has not expanded his base of support since that time.
The “gender gap” in our poll is huge as male voters in Utah are much more supportive of the president than women voters. Trump leads Biden among men 51-35 percent, but trails Biden among women voters 47-37 percent. If you add the 16 point lead for Trump among men, and Biden’s 10 point lead among women, you get a 24 point gender gap.
Trump enjoys strong support from the political right in Utah. 93 percent of strong Republicans, 55 percent of moderate Republicans and 68 percent of independent voters who lean Republican say they’ll vote for him in November. Additionally, 94 percent of “strong” conservatives and 64 percent of “moderate” conservatives back Trump for a second term.
Where Trump runs into trouble is among independent voters and political moderates. Biden leads Trump by 10 points among true independent voters, 38-28 percent. Moderates back Biden over Trump 53-19 percent. That unease about giving Trump another term in office among political independents and moderate Utah voters is the primary reason the contest with Biden is so close at this point in the race.
The survey also shows Trump trails Biden in both the 2nd and 4th Congressional Districts, which both contain significant parts of Salt Lake City and County. In CD 2, Biden leads Trump 46-42 percent. In the 4th District, Biden is ahead 43-38 percent.
That distaste for Trump could have an impact on the hotly contested race in the 4th District. Right now, four Republicans are vying to be the party’s nominee to take on Democrat Ben McAdams in November. Former NFL player Burgess Owens is the current frontrunner in that race according to a Y2 Analytics survey, but the race is still wide open. Trump’s unpopularity could be a drag on the eventual GOP nominee in November. That might be key as McAdams barely squeaked to a win in 2018 in the heavily Republican district.
It’s curious that Trump is losing to Biden in the 2nd Congressional District, given that Rep. Chris Stewart, who represents the district, is one of Trump’s most fervent supporters in Congress. However, that is not expected to dampen Stewart’s chances to win another term as the district is rated “solid Republican” by several election forecasters.
Trump is solidly ahead of Biden in both the 1st and 3rd Congressional districts.
If the presidential election in Utah turns out to be close in November, it will likely be due to younger voters hitting the polls. The youth vote in Utah is solidly behind Biden, while older voters lean primarily toward Trump. 18-34 year-olds back Biden 45-24 percent. Voters between 35 and 44 are behind Biden 43-36 percent. Those in the 45-55 age range support Trump over Biden 53-35 percent. 55-64 year-olds are essentially split between the two, with Biden slightly ahead 47-45 percent. Elderly voters over the age of 65 back Trump 53-38 percent.
The survey was conducted by Y2 Analytics from May 9-15, 2020 among 1099 likely Utah voters with a margin of error of 3 percent.