It wasn’t all that long ago that confident Democrats and their allied media pundits were talking about the chances of Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton flipping the bright red state of Utah into a light blue or purple state.
While that has always seemed like an unlikely occurrence, such an outcome appears to be considerably more outside the realm of possibility than ever, judging by the latest polling.
According to a graphic on his Facebook page that cited a recent Rasmussen poll, independent conservative candidate Evan McMullin has surpassed Clinton in Utah to claim second place, trailing Republican nominee Donald Trump by a mere point, but certainly within the margin of error for the poll.
McMullin wrote, “These poll results just show what we already knew: that principled Americans are excited to support a better choice. These Utah results are just the beginning.”
Trump led the poll with 30 percent of the vote. McMullin drew 29 percent, beating Clinton’s 28 percent. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson came in a distant fourth with only 5 percent support.
To be sure, there are several factors at play here that have seemingly resulted in the strong showing of McMullin in Utah, most notably that it is his home state and that he shares the Mormon religion with a significant portion of the state’s population.
It also shows that there remains a strong undercurrent of conservatism in the country, one that would prefer to support a more traditional conservative candidate for the presidency, given the option.
Unfortunately there isn’t much else “traditional” about this 2016 election cycle or the other candidates in the race, and it remains unclear at this time what sort of effect there would be electorally if McMullin were somehow to pull off the upset in Utah and secure the state’s Electoral College votes on Election Day.
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