Utah is a red state, in fact, about as red as they come — it's gone Republican in the last 10 presidential elections. But while polls have Donald Trump leading in the Beehive State, some have expressed doubt that a victory is wrapped up for the GOP nominee.
Trump's many controversies, which include a recent tape that captured the former reality star bragging about what seemed like sexual assault, might be pushing some voters away and therefore helping Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. A number of Republican leaders in the state, including its current governor and former governor, have backed away from the GOP nominee, and the "Trump defections leave ruby-red Utah more uncertain," wrote the St. George (Utah) Spectrum.
Clinton's Utah campaign presence, meanwhile, released a video Tuesday called "We are Mormons for Hillary," appealing to the large Mormon population in the state. About 60 percent of Utahns are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Clinton ad features people reading passages from Clinton's book "It Takes A Village."
Polling in Utah is sparse, perhaps because most consider it an easy win for Trump. Some polls early in the summer found a near deadlock in the state, but now data-driven website FiveThirtyEight gives him a nearly 98 percent chance of winning the state in their polls-only election forecast. The Real Clear Politics average of polls has the GOP nominee up 14.7 percentage points in the state. The most recent survey, however, is from nearly a month ago — the poll from the Salt Lake Tribune found Trump was up 9 points on Clinton. But that gap came from Trump registering 34 percent support to Clinton's 25 percent.
"To not have either candidate get even close to 40 percent is kind of telling about how much support they have in the state," said Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah, via the Salt Lake Tribune.
Meanwhile, third-party candidates may also make things difficult for Trump to win Utah's six electoral votes. Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party and Evan McMullin, a former CIA official who is a Mormon, have a foothold in the state. McMullin is a conservative running as an Independent as part of the "Stop Trump Movement," while Johnson has polled as high as 16 percent in statewide polls.
"We are on our way up, and an awful lot of people are on their way out for Mr. Trump," Andrew McCullough, chairman of the Utah Libertarian party, told International Business Times in a July phone interview.