If the presidential race in Utah were Bernie Sanders against Donald Trump, Utah would likely vote for a Democrat for the first time since 1964.
In a new UtahPolicy.com survey, a hypothetical Sanders/Trump matchup in Utah has Sanders with 49% to Trump's 34%. 17% would be undecided.
A Sanders win would send shockwaves through the political status quo as Lyndon B. Johnson was the last Democrat to capture Utah's electoral college votes when the state went for him over Republican Barry Goldwater. The Republican candidate has triumphed in Utah in 12 straight elections.
Sanders does much better against Trump than Hillary Clinton, who would be in a virtual dead heat with the real estate mogul. Trump is tied with Clinton 38-38%, with about a quarter of Utahns undecided.
Trump barely gets half of the votes from his own party in the state in both matchups, which should terrify Utah Republicans.
- Trump beats Sanders among Utah Republicans 49-27%. 24% are undecided.
- Trump gets a bare majority against Clinton among Utah Republicans 54-17% with 30% undecided.
Even scarier for Republicans, Trump loses among Utah independents.
- Independents favor Sanders over Trump 64-23%. 13% are undecided.
- Independents pick Clinton over Trump 51-23%. 25% are undecided.
There's a real reason the Utah GOP is working to shield their down ballot candidates from the toxicity of a Trump nomination, which could open the door for Democrats to win some close races. However, those gains could be blunted in Utah if Democrats nominate Clinton. Don't forget, former President Bill Clinton finished in third place in Utah in 1992 behind George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot. A Clinton/Trump matchup would apparently set up a "Sophie's Choice" for Utah voters.
Donald Trump would be the only opportunity for Utah Democrats to make some noise as both Ted Cruz and John Kasich beat Sanders and Clinton going away.
Cruz whips Clinton 67-26% while he would triumph over Sanders 63-32%.
Kasich beats Clinton 69-23%. He would top Sanders 64-30%.
Those numbers are more in line with recent presidential elections in Utah.
- In 2012, Mitt Romney beat Barack Obama 73-25%.
- John McCain topped Barack Obama 63-34% in 2008.
- George W. Bush bested John Kerry 73-26% in 2004.
- In 2000, George W. Bush overwhelmed Al Gore 67-26%.
Republicans and Democrats in Utah break along partisan lines among the candidates. However, independents like Sanders much more than Clinton.
- Independents prefer Cruz over Clinton 52-40%, but Sanders over Cruz by nearly the same tally 54-39%.
- Kasich beats Clinton among independents 59-31 while Sanders and Kasich are virtually tied, with Kasich leading 48-45%.
Sanders won big over Clinton in Utah's Democratic presidential preference vote in March. However, Cruz's vote total in the GOP contest was twice as many as Sanders pulled in.
Clinton is the prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic nomination while Trump and Cruz are battling to win enough delegates to secure the GOP nomination.
The Dan Jones & Associates survey was conducted March 23-April 5, 2016 among 600 adult Utahns with a margin of error +/- 4.0%.