When you think of Utah, some words probably come to mind: Conservative, Mormon, and Republican. But a new poll from the Beehive State shows that in a hypothetical match-up between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Utah might just cause a few double takes among political pundits.
A new Deseret News/KSL poll shows that if Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination, the Democratic nominee would be favored to win the deep red state of Utah in November. Utah hasn’t gone for a Democratic Presidential candidate in 50 years, but the specter of Trump could well turn this reddest of states blue.
Utah voters clearly want nothing to do with Trump; Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump 38%-36% while Bernie Sanders leads Trump 48%-37%. Both John Kasich and Ted Cruz could win Utah. Kasich would beat Clinton 59%-29%, and Sanders 54%-35%. Ted Cruz would beat Clinton 60%-32%, and Bernie Sanders would lose by a margin of 53%-39%.
Some Utah voters would stay home on election day: Sixteen percent of those polled said that they would not vote if the match-up is Trump vs. Clinton. If the match-up is Trump vs. Sanders, 9% of Utah voters would not vote.
In the past week, Trump has no doubt driven up his negatives in Utah, having this to say about 2012 GOP nominee at a rally in Salt Lake City:
Yes, you heard correctly: Donald Trump questioned if Romney is actually a Mormon. Way to ingratiate yourself with a state filled with Mormons, Donald!
Is it any wonder so many Republicans are scared to death of what will happen to their party if Trump winds up being the nominee? States that have long been solidly Republican would suddenly be in play, and even portions of the Deep South–most notably Georgia and the Carolinas, along with Arkansas–could vote for the Democratic candidate. If so, it would be a landslide of epic proportions, perhaps rivaling Barry Goldwater’s humiliating defeat to Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.
Over the weekend, conservative columnist George Will told Fox News that Trump is turning the GOP into the “party of white people.” Granted, most of us already thought the Republican party was the home of vast numbers of white Americans, but should they become exclusively that at the hands of a Trump takeover, their future will be in doubt for decades to come.