Utah has gone Republican in every presidential election since 1968. In the last four elections, the GOP nominee received 72.62% (2012), 62.24% (2008), 71.5% (2004), and 66.8% (2000). In 2012 and 2004, no state had a higher percentage for the Republican candidate. In 2008 and 2000, Utah was third on the list of reddest states.
Thanks to a homegrown conservative Independent candidate, that may be about to change.
A native of Utah and a graduate of BYU, Evan McMullin spent 10 years in the CIA (2001-2011, including overseas service in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. In 2013, McMullin joined the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs as a senior advisor and in 2015 became the chief policy director of the House Republican Conference, resigning shortly before he announced his presidential campaign on August 8th of this year.
Positioning himself as a principled conservative, McMullin is primarily appealing to conservatives and younger voters. His running mate is Mindy Finn, a tech expert who has worked on numerous Republican campaigns and served as a staffer for Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX). McMullin is 40, and Finn is 35, making the ticket perhaps the youngest in history.
Here are the polls taken in Utah since McMullin jumped in the presidential race:
August 19th: Trump 39%, Clinton 24%, Johnson 12%, McMullin 9%.
September 19th: Trump 34%, Clinton 25%, Johnson 13%, McMullin 12%.
October 11th: Trump 26%, Clinton 26%, McMullin 22%, Johnson 14%.
October 12th: Trump 34%, Clinton 28%, McMullin 20%, Johnson 9%.
October 14th: Trump 37%, Clinton 20%, McMullin 20%, Johnson 7%.
October 16th: Trump 30%, McMullin 29%, Clinton 28%, Johnson 5%.
October 19th: McMullin 31%, Trump 27%, Clinton 24%, Johnson 5%.
No third-party or Independent candidate has won a state since 1968. Evan McMullin might just change that.