In the aftermath of the hot-mic recording of Donald Trump bragging about groping women, and a second bombed presidential debate against Hillary Clinton, Utah just became a swing state. More than half of Utah voters (51 percent) believe Trump should drop out of the race – including an astonishing 46 percent of Republicans.
Traditionally one of the reddest states in the union, Utah is now a jump ball, politically. A poll by Y2 Analytics finds a three-way statistical tie between Trump, Clinton and Independent conservative (and Utah native son) Evan McMullin. Each counts the support of roughly a quarter of the Utah electorate; Libertarian Gary Johnson is trailing behind, at 15 percent.
The poll, which was conducted on October 10th and 11th, in the aftermath of the “Trump tape” and the debate drubbing, showed Trump was viewed unfavorably by 72 percent of Utah voters. But the poll preceded the Salt Lake Tribune‘s endorsement of Clinton as “the only qualified candidate.” And it did not measure voter sentiment in the wake of a number of women coming forward to claim they were groped by Trump – despite the nominee’s insistence that his “locker room talk” of sexual assault was “just words” and never action.
Clinton’s tie with Trump in the state is remarkable. Utah has not voted for a Democrat since backing LBJ a half-century ago. The Clinton camp is now talking about moving resources into the state, but given that she is viewed unfavorably by a whopping 70 percent of Utah voters, she may already be very near her ceiling.
The most eye-popping result in this poll is the strength of McMullin, a former CIA agent, Goldman Sachs banker and policy director for House Republicans. In the Y2 poll, McMullin grabbed 22 percent of likely voters, despite having only 52 percent name recognition, suggesting he has a lot of room to grow, politically.
A graduate of Brigham Young University, McMullin is getting about 33 percent of LDS voter backing in the state, where six in ten voters are Mormon. A McMullin victory in Utah is now conceivable – and would mark the first time a third-party candidate had won a state in the Electoral College since 1968, when segregationist George Wallace took five states in the Deep South.
The true importance of Utah being a swing state, however, is that it suggests a landslide election is in play. Trump appears headed to a loss, regardless. But any election bad enough for the Republican to lose Utah almost certainly puts the Senate in Democratic hands, and could even tip the House. For the GOP, the apocalypse is now.
Most women know Trump’s brand of misogyny – and that’s likely to cost him the White House. Watch here.