If election were today, both Clinton and Sanders would beat Trump...in Utah
Current polls have Ted Cruz demolishing Donald Trump in the Utah primary, to be held tomorrow. But a new general election poll released yesterday by Deseret News/KSL shows both Democratic candidates beating Donald Trump in Utah in November.
Utah hasn't voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964, which makes this poll a shocker.
f Donald Trump becomes the Republican Party's nominee, Utahns would vote for a Democrat for president in November for the first time in more than 50 years, according to a new Deseret News/KSL poll.
"I believe Donald Trump could lose Utah. If you lose Utah as a Republican, there is no hope," said former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, a top campaign adviser to the GOP's 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney.
The poll found that may well be true. Utah voters said they would reject Trump, the GOP frontrunner, whether former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is the Democratic candidate on the general election ballot.
While Clinton was only slightly ahead of Trump — 38 percent to 36 percent — Sanders, a self-declared Democratic socialist, holds a substantial lead — 48 percent to 37 percent over the billionaire businessman and reality TV star among likely Utah voters.
"Wow. Wow. That's surprising," said Chris Karpowitz, co-director of Brigham Young University's Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy. "Any matchup in which Democrats are competitive in the state of Utah is shocking."
Also surprising is the number of Utahns who said they wouldn't vote if Trump were on the ballot. Sixteen percent said they'd skip the election if Trump and Clinton were their ballot choices, while 9 percent said they wouldn't vote if it was a Trump-Sanders matchup.
Both Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich would beat either Democratic candidate in Utah, the poll found. Sanders came closest against Cruz, with 39 percent of Utahns backing Sanders to 53 percent for Cruz.
Trump was also thumped in Idaho and Wyoming by Cruz, which suggests that western conservative states – as reliably Republican as any states in the union – reject Trump's bombastic style.
It's likely that Utah voters will hold their noses and vote for Trump in November. But a state that usually gives the Republican nominee upwards of 70% of its vote likely won't even come close to that level in the general election.