Utah is an interesting place; it is overwhelmingly Mormon, overwhelmingly conservative, and overwhelmingly Republican. In presidential election years, Republican candidates spend little time or money in the state during the general election season due to one simple fact — they don’t need to. Utah has been a reliably Republican state since voting for Lyndon Johnson in 1964. In fact, Utah has only cast its electoral votes for a Democrat seven times since 1900, and four of those times were for Franklin Roosevelt. But now, thanks to Donald Trump, Democrats may be poised to pick up a state they thought they might never win again.
A new Deseret News/KSL poll found that if Trump is the Republican nominee, he would lose Utah to either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. That is, to quote Vice President Biden, “a big f***ing deal.” Trump is the only GOP candidate who loses Utah to the Democrats. Both Cruz and Kasich win the state by large margins over either Clinton or Sanders.
Given the results of recent elections, it is believed that Democrats enter the 2016 contest with 217 “safe” electoral votes, compared to Republicans’ 191. Utah’s six votes are part of that 191 vote total. Move those votes to the Democratic column, and the GOP path to the White House becomes even more difficult. The Democratic nominee, on the other hand, would only have to gather 47 of the 130 votes from states that are considered “in play” to win the election.
And if conservative Utah would turn blue thanks to a Trump candidacy, could Republicans expect to win other toss-up states like New Hampshire, Colorado, and Iowa? In addition to Democrats’ picking up Utah’s votes, this poll suggests that the 2016 election could be come a “wave” for Democrats, with Clinton or Sanders carrying most of the country, and bringing with them a number of new Democrats in the Senate, from blue-leaning toss-up states such as New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Wisconsin.
Utah holds its presidential primary on Tuesday. Republican leadership sees Utah and many of the remaining states as a way to deny Trump a clear majority of delegates going into the GOP convention in Cleveland. At the moment Ted Cruz holds a huge lead in the state, but everyone wants to know if he will win big in the primary, due to Utah’s “50 percent rule.” In the GOP primary, delegates will be awarded proportionally according to the percentage of the vote each candidate gets. But if one candidate gets over 50 percent of the vote, he wins all of the delegates.
Here’s a report on the upcoming Utah primary, and the poll showing that Trump would lose the state to either Democrat, via KSL:
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons