If the 2016 GOP race comes down to Jeb Bush and Donald Trump, a majority of Utahns would prefer the former Florida Governor win the nomination.
A new Dan Jones & Associates survey asked Utahns to weigh in on a hypothetical final contest between Bush and Trump. He finds 51% of Utahns say they would like to see Bush win the nomination while about 1/3 (32%) would prefer Trump win.
Trump is leading the national polls at around 30% while Bush is solidly in third place with around 8% according to the Real Clear Politics average.
Bush's lead in Utah is not surprising. He has some high-profile residents backing his run for the White House, including Sen. Orrin Hatch.
The race for the Republican nomination has begun to shake out a bit. The field originally had 17 candidates, but that number is down to 15 as former Texas Governor Rick Perry and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker have dropped out.
A recent UtahPolicy.com survey found surgeon Ben Carson at the top of the GOP field among Utahns with 18% overall. Trump and Bush were in second place with 12 and 11% support respectively. Recently Carson has taken some heat in the media for suggesting a Muslim should not be elected president because their religious beliefs are incompatible with the Constitution. His campaign has also lost some of its luster following a tepid performance in the second GOP primary debate.
When we look at just Republicans in our poll, we find nearly the same breakdown as the statewide numbers, with 55% saying they want Bush to be the nominee and 33% backing Trump. Independent voters break toward Bush by a 49-34% margin.
Among voters who consider themselves "very conservative," Trump and Bush are tied at 44%. "Somewhat conservative" Utahns say they prefer Bush over Trump by a 57-30% tally. Moderates lean heavily toward Bush by 60-24%.
The only subset of our survey that found a preference for Trump was among Tea Party supporters. That group overwhelmingly broke for Trump by a 70-20% margin. Utahns who told us they are not part of the Tea Party preferred Bush 55-26%.
The Dan Jones & Associates poll was conducted September 8-17, 2015 among 604 adult Utahns. It has a margin of error of +/- 4.0%.