Trouble for Trump in Utah

Campaign 2016 | New poll shows the Republican in danger of losing a deep red state
by Laura Finch
Posted 10/12/16, 12:11 pm

A new poll out of Utah shows Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in serious trouble there, with long-shot independent Evan McMullin within striking distance.

Utah is a deep red state that went to its native Mitt Romney by almost 50 points in 2012, but an October poll by Y2 Analytics shows Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton tied at 26 percent. McMullin, a former CIA officer and Capitol Hill staffer, trailed close behind at 22 percent—well in front of Libertarian Gary Johnson’s 14 percent. 

“What we kept hearing would be impossible, has now happened,” McMullin, a graduate of Brigham Young University, tweeted Wednesday. “Thank you, Utah!”

McMullin, whom WORLD profiled in August, is listed on the presidential ballot as an independent and is not included in most other polls. His surprising 22 percent in Utah put him within the margin of error in the survey—which also found a majority of the state’s voters want Trump to withdraw.

As early as March, former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, a Republican, predicted such a result: “I believe Donald Trump could lose Utah. If you lose Utah as a Republican, there is no hope,” he told Deseret News.

Utah only has six votes in the electoral college, but it could technically be enough to keep either Trump or Clinton from reaching the necessary 270 votes to win. 

WORLD reported earlier this year that if Trump can win most states that Romney did and also pick up a few other key states—say Florida, Ohio, New Hampshire, and Virginia—it would put him at 270 and Clinton at 268. If a state like Utah goes to a third party candidate like McMullin, Trump is back down to 264—and neither candidate has enough votes to win.

In that case, the U.S. House of Representatives would choose the next president from among the top three contenders in a “contingent election.”

Laura Finch

Laura is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute's mid-career course.

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