Election 2020

It's Happening: Evan McMullin Beats Trump and Clinton in Utah Poll

In this Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016 photo, Evan McMullin, a conservative independent presidential candidate, speaks at a town hall meeting in Logan, Utah. (Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP)

In a stunning new development, Independent candidate Evan McMullin has taken the lead in his home state of Utah.

McMullin takes a full 31.3 percent of the vote, handily beating Donald Trump’s 27 percent and Hillary Clinton’s 24.4 percent, in an Emerson College poll released Wednesday. This demonstrates that the Independent conservative really could win his home state, and if he gets lucky and Clinton falls short of 270 electoral votes, he can win the election.

Why did an obscure candidate boost to the top in Utah? Voters there cannot stand Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. A whopping 71.5 percent of respondents have an unfavorable view of Trump, and 73.9 percent have an unfavorable view of Clinton. Only 23.9 percent view Trump favorably, and only 23.2 percent view Clinton favorably.

Interestingly, the poll actually skews in favor of Trump supporters. In the Utah primary, Texas Senator Ted Cruz won with 69.2 percent of the vote, compared to Ohio Governor John Kasich’s 16.8 percent, and Trump’s mere 14 percent. Among those surveyed in the poll, only 24. 6 percent voted Cruz, while 16.9 percent voted Trump. When only those who voted in the GOP primary are considered, only 40.8 percent of those in the poll backed Cruz, while 28.1 percent favored Trump.

Even among this group of voters which skews toward Trump, McMullin has the lead.

This poll shows the Independent candidate surging, up nearly ten points from a poll last week. If the trend continues, McMullin could become the first third party candidate to win electoral votes since 1968, when George Wallace carried 5 states. Even if he does not win in the House of Representatives, McMullin would make history.