Donald Trump has a slim one-point lead over independent candidate Evan McMullin among likely voters in Utah. Democrat Hillary Clinton is in third place.
The survey, commissioned by UtahPolicy.com, is the third straight survey of Utah showing McMullin has either caught or passed the GOP nominee in usually rock-solid Republican Utah.
Donald Trump gets 30% in the poll, followed by McMullin at 29%. Hillary Clinton is at 25%. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson has fallen to 4% after polling as high as 16% in Utah. Green Party nominee Jill Stein and Constitution Party candidate Darrell Castle each get 1%. 5% mentioned some other candidate, and 4% are undecided.
The majority of the Dan Jones & Associates survey was conducted after a videotape of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women was made public. However, most of the interviews were finished before the third and final debate between Trump and Clinton in Las Vegas on Wednesday night. During that debate, Trump refused to say he would accept the outcome of the election as legitimate.
Clinton's current third-place position brings up the specter of 1992 when her husband, Bill, finished in third place in Utah behind George W. Bush and Ross Perot.
Utah Republicans are divided between the GOP nominee and McMullin, with 48% of GOP voters backing Trump and 37% picking McMullin. Given the outrage from many Utah Republicans after the Trump tape came to light, it's shocking that nearly half of likely GOP voters still support the Republican nominee while other top Republicans like Sen. Mike Lee and Gov. Gary Herbert have withdrawn their support.
If you want to understand why Utah has suddenly become the flavor of the month among the political cognoscenti, look no further than independent voters. Among that group, Trump comes in third place, with McMullin grabbing 31%, Clinton winning 27% and Trump with 20%. That's the main reason Utah is the most surprising battleground state of the 2016 election. Whichever candidate can appeal most to independent voters will likely win the state's six electoral votes.
Given McMullin's Mormon faith, you would think he would have a built-in base of support among LDS Church members. You would be (mostly) wrong. Trump's support remains solid compared to McMullin, which is puzzling because the lewd videotape of him bragging about groping women prompted the LDS Church-owned Deseret News to write an editorial calling for Trump to withdraw from the race.
- McMullin leads Trump among "very active" LDS voters 43-31%.
- Surprisingly, "somewhat active" Mormons prefer Trump by 15-points, 37-22%
- Hillary Clinton leads among "not active" members of the LDS Church. The Democratic nominee gets 36% of this group, while Trump has 33%. McMullin only gets 13% support here.
- Catholics prefer Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump 55-26%. McMullin only gets 5%.
- Protestants pick Trump over Clinton, 45-37%. McMullin is at 8%.
McMullin has positioned himself as a conservative alternative to Donald Trump. Utah conservatives aren't buying that argument much.
- 51% of those who describe themselves as "very conservative" prefer Trump, while 39% pick McMullin.
- "Somewhat conservative" Utahns are split between the two. 39% choose McMullin and 38% pick Trump.
- Clinton leads among "moderate" Utahns, with 36% backing the Democratic nominee. 25% of moderates like McMullin while just 13% would vote for Trump.
What is clear is Utah's status as a battleground state during this election cycle. As you can see from this chart, the last three surveys taken in Utah show Trump's support has dropped dramatically while, at the same time, McMullin's support has jumped in the Beehive State. Hillary Clinton has hovered between 28 and 25%, with one poll dropping her as low as 20%.
The survey was conducted by Dan Jones & Associates from October 12 to October 18, 2016, among 818 likely Utah voters. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.97%