Misty Snow could become the first major party transgender nominee for U.S. Senate according to a new UtahPolicy.com survey, but most voters in are currently undecided ahead of the June primary election.
Snow faces Jonathan Swinton in the June primary election for the Democratic nomination. Our survey shows Snow with a modest 33-20% lead among Utah Democrats. Independent voters also favor Snow 23-10%.
The primary election is open to any registered Utah voter. Among all Utahns, Snow leads Swinton 18-11%.
While Snow does enjoy a slight lead right now, the biggest number is undecided voters. Overall, 71% of Utahns have no preference between the two. 46% of Democrats and 68% of independent voters also say they are undecided in the race. Those numbers reflect the relatively small name-ID for both candidates.
Snow surprised Swinton at the Democratic State Convention in April by forcing him into the primary. Swinton announced his candidacy in the summer of 2015 while Snow jumped into the race in March of this year. At the convention, Swinton got 56 and 55% in two rounds of voting, which allowed Snow to push him into the primary.
Swinton's troubles among Democrats largely stem from an op-ed he wrote supporting the Republican-led investigation into Planned Parenthood. Swinton, who is a marriage and family therapist, is also pro-life, a stance that didn't sit well with some Democratic delegates.
Snow, who works as a cashier at a grocery store, would become the first transgender nominee for Congress from a major political party if she wins in June.
Whoever wins will face a massive uphill battle against incumbent Republican Sen. Mike Lee. Swinton has just under $2,000 in cash on hand according to the latest disclosure form, while Snow has not reported any contributions or spending at all. Meanwhile, Lee has more than $1 million on hand.
The eventual winner of June's primary may depend on turnout. It's difficult to predict what turnout in June for the Democrats could look like. The last time Democrats had a statewide primary election was 1992 when Wayne Owens defeated Doug Anderson for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. There were 120,000 ballots cast in that election. Owens would go on to lose to Sen. Bob Bennett in the November election.
The Dan Jones & Associates poll was conducted May 2-10, 2016 among 588 Utah voters with a margin of error +/-4.04%.