- Mike Lee leads Evan McMullin 36%-34% in the Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll.
- The Utah Senate race is shaping up to be one of the most competitive statewide races in years.
- The key to victory is the support of the state’s middle class voters, according to Hinckley Director Jason Perry.
Republican Sen. Mike Lee holds a narrow lead over independent candidate Evan McMullin in the Utah Senate race, one of the most competitive statewide races in a GOP stronghold in recent memory.
In the latest Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll — among registered voters — Lee received the support of 36% of respondents, while 34% supported McMullin and 13% chose another candidate. In the poll results, 16% of respondents also indicated that they were undecided.
Among likely voters, the race remains largely unchanged, with Lee leading McMullin 37 percent to 34 percent, with 16 percent of respondents undecided.
It polled 815 registered voters between Sept. 3 and Sept. 21 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.43 percent.
Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah, told the Deseret News that the election results indicate that unsold public opinion polls are the key to a third term in Washington, D.C. It’s also crucial for McMullin if he wins and upsets the Republican legislature in November.
“Mike Lee continues to be in the driver’s seat, but the most surprising aspect of this election is who the undecided voters are — moderates and liberals,” Perry told the publication. “Mike Lee needs some moderates and Evan McMullin needs all the moderates and liberals he can convince, but those groups are in trouble.”
Utah Democrats threw their support behind McMullin in the November race in April, in turn running candidates from their own party. By endorsing McMullin, Democrats in 2011 They lined up behind a former CIA officer who ran unsuccessfully for the presidency in 2016, but performed strongly in the Beehive state — winning 22 percent of the statewide vote and trailing Donald Trump with less than 50 percent of the vote. Republican states in the country.
While Lee voted in line with most Republican senators, McMullin told NBC News in July that he would not align with either major party if elected to office this fall.
And while Republican candidates generally enjoy a healthy financial advantage in Utah, McMullin has been able to remain competitive with the incumbent.
According to OpenSecrets, Lee raised $7.9 million and had about $2.5 million cash on hand, while McMullin took in more than $3.2 million and had about $1.3 million cash on hand.
In the last Deseret News/Hinckley poll — conducted in July — Lee had a 41-36% lead over McMullin.
The final results show some erosion of support for the senator, as the number of undecided voters has increased since then.