Utah: The Pendulum Continues

In mid-May, I wrote a post (text here) about a poll taken in Utah in March that showed Hillary Clinton (presidential nominee of the Democratic Party) defeating Donald Trump (presidential nominee of the Republican Party) by 2 percentage points, 38%-36% (article on poll here). That post talked about the possibility (albeit slim) that Utah could flip from red to blue in the 2016 American presidential election, but that post also mentioned that it is trends that matter and not a single survey.

As if to make solid my point about trends, less than a week later I wrote another post (text here) about a poll taken in Utah in May that showed Trump defeating Clinton by 13 percentage points, 43%-30% (article on poll here).

That double-digit lead in May placed the Republican Party presidential candidate back into the historical pattern of Utah’s past presidential elections. Romney won the state in 2012 by double digits (48 percentage point margin over Obama). McCain won the state in 2008 by double digits (28 percentage point margin over Obama). Bush won the state in 2004 by double digits (45 percentage point margin over Kerry). Bush won the state in 2000 by double digits (40 percentage point margin over Gore).

Now, however, the pendulum has swung back to the Democratic Party courtesy of the last two surveys that have been released documenting the presidential preferences of the citizens of Utah. In June, Gravis Marketing released a survey (1,519 registered voters, margin of error 2.5 percentage points, article here) that shows Donald Trump “only” defeating Hillary Clinton by 7 percentage points, 36%-29%. However, that margin shrinks to 3 percentage points when respondents were asked who they choose for President given the option of Trump, Clinton, and Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson. In that three-way contest, Trump wins 29% of the vote, Clinton warns 26%, and Johnson takes 16% (“Other” actually ties for first place with 29% of the vote).

A 7-point win or 3-point win is still a win for the 6 votes in the Electoral College that Utah holds, so is the Beehive State in play?

There is one more recent poll that keeps the pendulum (virtually) swinging to the blue. In June, Salt Lake Tribune/Hinckley Institute of Politics released a survey (1,238 likely voters, margin of error 2.8 percentage points, article here) that showed that a contest between the presidential candidates of the Democratic Party, Libertarian Party, and the Republican Party is a tie (35%-35%) between Trump and Clinton with Johnson pulling in 13% of the vote (“Undecided”wins silver with 16%).

Since the start of 2016, I have found six polls (full list here courtesy of electiongraphs.com) taken in the state of Utah. Of those surveys, two are a tie, three show a Republican Party win by margins of 13, 7, and 3 percentage points, and one (the earliest – from mid-March) shows a Democratic win by 2 percentage points. Using math, I can show that the average Republican Party margin of victory for those six surveys is 3.5 percentage points, a figure that is within the margin of error of some surveys.

Five months away from Election Day and the average margin of victory for Donald Trump is the single digits.

The low single digits.

Can’t wait for the next Utah poll.


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