Now that Donald Trump is the presumptive GOP nominee, will he hurt or help down-ballot Republicans in Utah?
Very few of our "Political Insiders" think Trump's presence on the ballot will help other Republican candidates in Utah. However, Republicans mostly think he will make no difference in November while Democrats and our readers think he will hurt other GOP candidates.
For months, polling showed Trump either trailed or tied the two possible Democratic presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders. That gave hope to Democrats that Trump's unpopularity would allow them the opportunity to pick up seats in the Legislature and help other Democratic candidates. Now, it seems, Utahns are starting to line up behind Trump as the latest poll shows Trump with a lead over both Sanders and Clinton.
Both Trump and Clinton are toxic politically to Utahns. 52% of Utah voters said they would not vote for Trump if he's the Republican nominee while 67% stated that they would not vote for Clinton if she's the Democratic nominee.
Selected anonymous comments:
"Compared to the past two cycles (2012, the most popular candidate to probably ever run in Utah, and 2014 where President Obama was even more unpopular than in 2012), it would hurt. Trump will win Utah by 20+, which in most states would count as helping."
"Utah voters continually re-elect the same people over and over and over and over again. Change scares them."
"Republicans hate Clinton more than they hate Trump. Thus, the Trump factor becomes irrelevant."
"Trump will still win the state, but he could impact turnout from the Republican faithful. Republicans in tough races (I'm looking at you Mia Love) might be in trouble if people stay home in droves."
"Utah generally vote for whomever the Republican candidate is. That will likely not change."
"Utah Democrats are pinning their hopes on down-ballot effects of Trump's candidacy will be sorely disappointed to learn that Utahns dislike, distrust, and fundamentally reject their anointed candidate even more. They should focus on moderating their policies instead of clinging to false hopes."
"Trump has a lot of people in Utah hoping he will become president, so the GOP needs to get used to the idea. We are sick of what is going on in Washington and don't think a Trump presidency can be any worse and will be better than the last eight years."
"Give Utahns credit; they vote for the candidate all the way down the ballot. Though many won't be willing to vote for Trump, the candidates further down the ballot won't be affected. The only negative Trump affect will likely be lower voter turn-out."
"There was no help for Democrats in 08 riding the Obama wave, and there was no help for Republicans in 12 riding the Romney Tsunami. Utahn's are independent and will not be swayed by who is at the top of the ticket."
"Trump ruins the straight-party ballot option for a lot of Republicans, who will now have to look at each race."
"Many Republican voters have said they will just not vote, others will not vote straight ticket, still others are rethinking why they are Republicans in the first place."
"Trump's candidacy will hurt Mia Love, ensuring a Doug Owens win. I don't see Trump's candidacy impacting the outcome of other races."
"Trump's presence on the ballot will hurt Republicans, not enough to snag the Senate seat or the governor's office, but probably enough to defeat Mia Love, and enough to snag a few state House seats, maybe 5-6 at best. Possibly one state senate seat, but the Senate seats are much harder to crack for the Democrats."
"Absolutely he'll hurt the party. After all, if the Republicans are crazy enough to run somebody like that at the top of the ticket, what kind of people are in lower slots on the ballot?"
"Having Trump on the presidential ticket might cause some Republicans to stay home on election day, but it's doubtful it will be enough to sway any races."
"What could be worse than Donald Trump? Oh yeah, Hillary Clinton."
"Trump will not affect anything in the state of Utah. Just like we learned in 08 and 12 no matter who is at the top of the ticket in this state, there are no coattails."
"Definitely hurt. If the D's are on their game AT ALL, they'll win seats back this year."
"I can't speak for everyone else, but it will certainly hurt the Republican chances in Utah in my book. Once a person refuses to vote for Trump (and that is me) then the rest of the ballot is open for switch voting."
"The impact will be felt by House members in Salt Lake County whose districts lie along the diagonal from Rose Park to Little Cottonwood Canyon."
"Utah will eat crow and go big for Trump."
"The harm may come in the form of less straight ticket balloting. Some Republicans may not want to vote in the presidential race. Just skip it. And once they start to mark down ballot races, they may be overtaken and vote for a Democrat they know personally and like. But I don't see many Republicans switching to Democrats in major races, like U.S. Senate and governor."
"The Republican brand is still strong here in Utah. Having Hillary Clinton at the top of the other ticket will offset any harm from The Donald's name being atop the GOP slate."