Poll: Ted Cruz Leading GOP Field in Utah; Trump Slips to Fourth Place

Ted CruzDonald Trump has slipped to fourth place among Utah Republicans in the presidential contest following his controversial statements on Muslims being allowed into the U.S., a new UtahPolicy poll finds.

And among those who say they are “very active” LDS, Trump has dropped considerably, finds Dan Jones & Associates in a new survey.

Jones conducted a special poll for UtahPolicy just after Trump said he would bar Muslims from coming into the United States for the time being if he were president.

Utahns disagreed with Trump’s statements, Jones found.

In the same survey, Jones asked Utahns their preferences on who should be the Republican presidential nominee – listing all of the current GOP candidates.

Trump has never been a big favorite in Utah.

It seems Utahns in general and faithful Mormons, in particular, are getting the message from LDS Church leaders and their beliefs on Trump.

The Deseret News – owned by the LDS Church – never takes stands on political candidates.

But the newspaper recently ran an anti-Trump editorial – a rarity to say the least.

Then, after Trump’s Muslim comments, the church released a statement quoting LDS Church founder Joseph Smith in which he welcomes all religions into the city that was then the Mormon capital – Nauvoo, Ill.

Those who told Jones they are “very active” in the LDS Church have gotten the message, the new poll in Utah shows:

  • 18 percent of active LDS favor Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; 18 percent favor Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; 16 percent support retired surgeon Ben Carson.
  • Trump comes in at only 9 percent, tied with those who said they prefer someone “other” than the announced GOP candidates and the “don’t knows,” also at 9 percent.

So, Trump’s standing among active Mormons is lower than it is among all Utahns and Republican Party Utahns.


Among all Utahns, Trump is in fourth place with 11 percent support. Carson is second with 14% and Rubio is third with 13%. Cruz is first with 14 percent support.

The other candidates drop off from there.

Among only Utah Republicans Trump gets 12 percent support, and is behind Cruz at 20 percent support, Rubio at 18 percent and Carson also at 18 percent support.

All the others get single-digit support from Utah Republicans.

Under Utah Republican Party rules only registered Republicans will be allowed to vote in the late-March GOP caucuses – where the state’s Republican delegates to the party national convention will be allocated.

Democrats can’t vote in the GOP Utah presidential selection process.

However, political independents – officially known as “unaffiliated voters” – can sign up to be a Republican and vote in the March caucuses.

Jones finds that among political independents:

  • 14 percent support Cruz.
  • 14 percent support Trump.
  • 11 percent support Rubio.
  • 11 percent like Carson.

And the rest of the GOP candidates fall into single digit support.

While any registered Utah Republican can vote in the party caucuses for their presidential preferences, historically those who are on the more conservative side attend the caucuses and vote.

Accordingly, those who self-identified themselves as “very conservative” philosophically carry more weight in Utah Republican caucuses and conventions.

Among the “very conservative” Trump finishes third in the new poll, Jones finds:

  • 28 percent (a very good showing) like Cruz – who has been eating into Trump’s support across the nation in recent weeks.
  • 17 percent like Carson, whose poll numbers are falling nationally.
  • 16 percent like Trump.
  • 14 percent like Rubio.

And the others fall away into single digits.

Across the demographic breakouts, Utahns are beginning to make choices in the Republican race for president.

Jones finds that only 13 percent to 9 percent of Utahns, as they are broken out demographically, don’t know who they like in the GOP presidential race.

That “don’t know” number has dropped dramatically in the last few months, comparisons with other Jones’ polling shows.

In the latest survey, Jones polled 356 adults on Dec. 8, 9 and 10, with a margin of error of plus or minus 5.19 percent.