June 7, 2016
Utah has had it. From coast to coast there are plenty of #NeverTrump, #NotHillary voters. National polling regularly shows a solid 15 to 20 percent of the voting populace with no desire to vote for either major party nominee, even when prodded to choose the lesser evil. This isn’t normal. By this stage, it’s usually easy to get 90% or more of voters to make a choice, even if it’s subject to change.
It’s as if the candidates have record low favorability ratings or something. Some states are pitching more of a fit than others. Monmouth surveyed New Jersey voters last week and found only 72% of them were capable of choosing Trump or Clinton. That was before offering any third party options. Throwing Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein in the mix, pulled away a few more voters (though not many-most of their support was from the angsty/angry 28%.)
That was a strong signal. A new poll from Gravis Marketing indicates Utah is shouting their displeasure. Given the Trump/Clinton choice, only 65% of voters were able to hold their noses long enough to pick one. In case you’re curious, Trump leads the Lesser of Two Evils Derby 36% to 29%, with a full 35% wondering how things are in Canada these days.
Gravis then added Johnson as a choice. Given three options, 71% of Utahans were able to make a pick. Trump fell to 29%, Clinton to 26%, while the pro-cannabis ex-Governor of New Mexico grabbed 16% in a state that is half Mormon. “Other” tied Trump at 29%. The two major party candidates combine for a pathetic 55%.
While it’s likely some of the remaining holdouts will find a way to show up in November and choose from their unappealing options, likely handing Trump the state’s electoral votes, this is the best example we have of the dilemma faced by voters who are equally repelled by both choices and aren’t yet sold on the viability of Johnson.
If you’re wondering why Bill Kristol ever thought running David French for president was an idea (let alone a good one), the Utah numbers provide an answer. While this is an extreme sample, with Democrats unpopular and Trump a miserable cultural fit, it does prove there is plenty of demand for other options. As in New Jersey, much of the support for Johnson comes from people who would otherwise pick Clinton or Trump, meaning a portion of the electorate just isn’t willing to accept we’ve already seen all the possibilities.
If anyone wants to push Mitt Romney as a write-in candidate, he would win Utah easily. With Trump and Clinton more likely to step up their attacks than become kinder, gentler, or more user-friendly, we are on track for a record number of Americans choosing none of the above in November.