If Trump Wins GOP Nomination, Utah Could Become a Swing State

A new survey of Utah voters by BYU’s CSED shows Hillary Clinton running neck and neck with Donald Trump in a hypothetical 2016 presidential match-up.

Reports Michael Barber at Utah Data Points:

Donald Trump defeats Clinton in this hypothetical race by about 8 points (54% to 46%). If this were the actual election outcome in Utah in November 2016 it would mark the most competitive presidential race in the state in 50 years. The next most competitive election occurred in Utah in 1964 when Democrat Lyndon Johnson beat Republican Barry Goldwater 55% to 45%. If Trump manages to obtain the Republican party’s nomination Utah may be a hotly contested battleground state in 2016.

Let’s look a little deeper at these numbers to see where the support for the two candidates comes from. The following figure shows the hypothetical vote question broken down by Republicans, Independents, Democrats, and those who say they have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party.

As we can see both Trump and Clinton are polarizing figures in American politics. Among Republicans in the survey, Trump handily defeats Clinton with slightly more than 80% support. Clinton defeats Trump among Democrats with basically unanimous support. However, despite the polarization, Trump still needs help from a large share of the state’s independent voters in order to carry the state. We see that Trump’s narrow victory statewide is largely a factor of the large majority (60%) of votes Clinton gains from voters that do not identify with either political party.