SALT LAKE CITY – (July 14, 2022) – A new poll from nonpartisan political action committee Center Street PAC (www.centerstreetpac.com) shows Republican incumbent Senator Mike Lee leads independent Evan McMullin 50% to 36% among Likely Voters in the race for Utah’s U.S. Senate seat. Results show 15% of voters still undecided. However, while Lee still holds the advantage over McMullin, the poll also revealed Lee’s numbers stagnated, drawing support almost entirely from the Republican base.
Lee’s current lead over former presidential candidate McMullin in Preference among Likely Voters is substantial. McMullin scored lower in Preference than in a March poll, which was taken prior to the Utah primary, when more voters were undecided. July’s results show a partisan shift, with Republicans shifting to Lee while Democrats and Unaffiliated voters prefer McMullin. In April, Utah Democrats chose not to nominate a candidate in order to coalesce support around the independent McMullin.
However, this poll exposed several vulnerabilities for Lee that could make this a closer race in November, if McMullin delivers his message and improves in certain areas. McMullin made solid gains in Awareness since March, improving from 67% to 73%. However, he needs to reach 90% Awareness to have a real chance.
“The Utah race is fascinating for us because it isn’t a traditional Republican state. When you consider the strong support that Utahns showed for Sen. Mitt Romney after his very public stance against President Trump, it’s evident that this is a state that is far less likely to vote for someone purely because they like Trump, unlike Florida or Georgia,” said Center Street Co-Founder Jacob Perry. “Our data shows very clearly that McMullin’s stance against Trump may actually be a positive for him in this campaign.”
Favorability for former President Donald Trump among Utah Republicans is lower than in other states Center Street has polled, with only 42% “very favorable” to Trump and a high 19% “very unfavorable.” By comparison, in every other state Center Street has polled, 55%+ of Republicans view Trump “very favorably,” with 10-15% “very unfavorable.” McMullin has relatively solid favorability among Trump voters, scoring 2.8, with 3.0 being average, which could present problems for Lee going forward.
Also, sitting U.S. senators are traditionally favored by roughly 85% of the electorate. However, Lee only pulls around 66% support from registered Republicans. More concerning for Lee is that Democrats and Undecideds have become far more unfavorable to him since March, with the majority of neutrals shifting to unfavorable views. Also, with 40% of voters still holding a “Neutral” view of McMullin, over 80% of voters are considered “Persuadable” for him. While undecided voters tend to wait until the last minute to choose, persuadable voters are those without enough information to form a strong favorable or unfavorable opinion of the candidates.
“Even though Lee has a substantial lead in preference, I would be looking over my shoulder if I were him,” says Center Street Chief Analytics Officer Dr. Kurt Jetta. “His support among Republicans is pretty soft, whereas McMullin’s is relatively strong for a non-Republican. “If Lee had these numbers in a more balanced state he would be toast. To have the support of only two-thirds of Republicans is a stunning lack of support from his base.”
About Center Street PAC
Center Street (www.centerstreetpac.com) is a nonpartisan political action committee designed to combat the destructive tribalism that threatens our democracy. Center Street is focused on beating the extremist incumbents and challengers who divide us by supporting rational political candidates who promote stable and effective governing policies. Center Street’s candidates are Democrats & Republicans who have shown political courage and a willingness to put the country above a party’s interests.