Utah has not gone to a non-Republican Presidential candidate since Lyndon Johnson's landslide victory in 1964, when Barry Goldwater won South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and his home state of Arizona, and Johnson won everything else. But a poll of likely Utah voters released today shows Trump and Hillary tied at 26% each.
You're right, 26% each leaves 48 more percent. So could someone else win Utah? Yep, maybe, if this poll isn't a fluke. Gary Johnson? Well, he has 14% in this poll, which doesn't look too shabby compared to 26%. But Evan McMullin has 22%. Read all about it in this CNN article.
What's that? You say you don't even know who this McMullin guy is? Me neither. Let me do some research. Be right back.
Okay: shouldn't come as a shock to anyone that McMullen is a Mormon from Utah. He used to work for the CIA, he used to be a counsel for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, he used to be the chief policy director of the House Republican Conference, a position he resigned only shortly before declaring his candidacy for President 2 months ago. His candidacy is supported by some prominent Never Trump Republicans.
Nationwide, he's polling around 2%, having pulled slightly ahead of Jill Stein. He doesn't seem to be making a really big splash anywhere other than Utah.
The last time a third-party candidate wan any electoral votes was in 1968, when George Wallace, running a pro-segregation campaign for the American Independent party, won Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and 1 of North Carolina's 13 electoral votes.
So, anyway, this McMullin character is definitely bad news for Trump in Utah. More bad new for Trump in Utah: the Salt Lake Tribune, Utah's largest newspaper, endorsed Hillary today. Oh, but that might not actually be such a shock to the Trump campaign: the Tribune also endorsed Barack in 2008 and 2012, and Barack still got trounced in Utah by John and Mitt. Seems the Tribune may have occasionally been just a smidge to the Left of Utah's voters in generally.
So, back to Trump 26%, Hillary 26%, Evan 22% and Gary 14% in Utah in today's poll: what does it mean? I don't know. It's just one poll. Up until now Trump had been way out in front in Utah, and maybe he still is and this one poll is a fluke. Or maybe Trump is through in Utah, and today's poll is just beginning of how bad it's going to get for him there. Or maybe it's somewhere in the middle. We'll see.
Utah has 6 electoral votes, and the latest projections show Hillary ahead by over 150 electoral votes even if Trump wins Utah, so none of this seems crucial right now to the outcome of the election for President. Still, the first loss of Utah by a Republican Presidential candidate since 1964 would be striking. If the Republican candidate actually ends up coming in 3rd in Utah, that would be extremely striking.
And if this poll is both not a fluke, if it's indicative of Trump's share of the vote plummeting not just in Utah but generally -- okay, that's me getting way ahead of myself. Never mind. There's no need for anyone to picture the happy dance I'm doing as I write this post.