Utah would seem to be fertile ground for GOP-outsider Ben Carson, a religious, soft-spoken neurosurgeon, but not democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, but both have surged ahead in the latest poll sanctioned by UtahPolicy.com. The poll, conducted by Dan Jones & Associates, found Carson leading national frontrunner Donald Trump 18% to 12% with former front-runner Jeb Bush in third at 11%.
On the Democratic side, the progressive Sanders leads Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton 22% to 11%, with Joe Biden actually in 2nd place with 16%; it will be interesting to see how the vice-president’s vote will be split up if he doesn’t decide to enter the race. One wouldn’t normally think that the more liberal Sanders would have a lead on his more moderate rivals in such a conservative state, but the former first lady and secretary of state clearly has a lot of work to do to be competitive in the Beehive State.
The Utah poll was conducted mostly before the 2nd Republican debate that has since led to Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio to rise in other polls. The debate featured a back and forth between Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Fiorina. Unfortunately, Fiorina wrongly implied that alcohol is safer than marijuana and that cannabis played a part in the tragic death of her step-daughter. Rubio was fourth in the UtahPolicy.com survey at 6%, followed by Fiorina and Rand Paul at 5%.
Like most other GOP polls have shown thus far, Republican voters are clearly desiring a “Washington outsider” not aligned with the establishment. Only Jeb Bush, with 11%, could really be characterized as an establishment candidate as Trump, Carson and Fiorina have not held public office; Rubio is a new national face who hasn’t served out his first term in the Senate; and Rand Paul’s libertarian philosophy has often clashed with party leaders.