The fight for Utah’s 40 Republican delegates looks like a three-man race between Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump.
A new UtahPolicy.com survey finds the three men at the top of the field in Utah. Cruz is first with 18%; Rubio is next with 17%, and Trump is third with 13%. 15% said they did not know.
Among Utah Republicans, Rubio is tops with 24%, Cruz has 22%, and Trump is at 18%. 11% say they are undecided.
The survey was taken after the New Hampshire primary, which Trump won decisively, but before Saturday’s South Carolina primary, which Trump also won.
The contest in Utah gains added importance after the Republican National Committee announced on Saturday they would hold a presidential debate in Utah on March 21, the day before Utah’s caucus. Arizona hosts their presidential primary on the same day Utah votes. Arizona has 58 delegates up for grabs.
Jeb Bush picked up 10% support in our survey (9% among Republicans), but he ended his campaign on Saturday night following disappointing showings in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Couple his support with the 15% who are undecided right now, and that could be enough to tip the scales toward one candidate.
Utah Republicans are holding a presidential caucus this year for the first time. The party’s 40 delegates will be awarded proportionally. Candidates have to reach 15% support to earn delegates.
Cruz dominates among Utahns who describe themselves as “very conservative,” pulling 41% in that group, while Rubio gets 18% and Trump has 15%.
However, among those who say they are “somewhat conservative,” Rubio is the leader with 22%. Cruz and Trump are tied with 17% support.
Moderates were split between Rubio and Bush. Rubio got 19% support and Bush had 16%. Now that Bush is out of the race, it remains to be seen where his support migrates. Conventional wisdom suggests Rubio will pick up a sizeable chunk because Cruz is focusing on more conservative voters. However, Trump may get some of that group as well since he’s sitting at 11% support. 16% of moderates said they were undecided.
Utah continues to be inhospitable territory for Hillary Clinton as, overall, 41% of Utahns pick Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders as the leader in the Democratic field. Clinton gets 19%, and 23% of Utahns say they’re undecided.
However, when you look at just the Democrats in our survey, Clinton wins a majority of support at 51%. Sanders gets 44%. Democrats will award their 33 delegates in a presidential preference vote. The party also has four “super delegates.” Two of those have already pledged their support to Hillary Clinton regardless of the results of the vote on March 22.
The Republican presidential caucus is open to registered Republicans only while the Democratic presidential preference vote is open to any registered voter.
The survey was conducted by Dan Jones and Associates from February 10-15, 2016 among 625 adult Utahns. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.92%.