Poll shows Utah could be a wild card in presidential election

Posted at 3:51 PM, Jun 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-08 23:42:48-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A poll shows presidential politics in red state Utah could be shaken up, which could also affect races down the ballot.

The poll, released this week by Gravis Marketing, puts Donald Trump just three points ahead of Hillary Clinton here in Utah at 29 to 26 percent. It also gives Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson 16 percent of the vote.

"Utah voters are very ambivalent," Tim Chambless with the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics said, reacting to the poll. "Very uncertain about who they're going to vote for -- if they're going to vote."

Chambless told FOX 13 that Johnson, being a former Republican governor, might siphon away votes away from those who would vote for the Republican nominee. It could lead to Clinton winning Utah, and he said a Democrat hasn't taken the state since Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1964.

The Utah Republican Party has even been working on "Plan T," a push to get people to vote Republican even if they're turned off by Trump.  The presumptive GOP nominee finished third in the Utah Caucus.

"If people stay home, I think it's going to be Republicans who stay home," said Utah Democratic Party chairman Peter Corroon.

Democrats are hoping that Trump's turn-off factor helps them win in November.

Despite Clinton's presumptive nomination after the primary elections on Tuesday, her opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has not signaled that he will be exiting the race. Utah's two pledged Sanders super-delegates said they would remain pledged to him. The Utah Democratic Party said Wednesday that the two Hillary Clinton super-delegates remain pledged to her.

"As a Bernie Sanders super-delegate, I support his efforts to stick it out until the end," Corroon said.