President Trump leads Joe Biden in Utah — but not by much, says new poll

(AP file photo composite) In this combination of file photos, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Del., on March 12, 2020, left, and President Donald Trump speaks at the White House in Washington on April 5, 2020. Early polling in the general election face-off between Trump and Biden bears out a gap between the two contenders when it comes to who Americans see as more compassionate to their concerns.

Washington • President Donald Trump leads rival Joe Biden by just 5 percentage points among Utah voters, a new poll shows, a worrisome showing for a Republican president in a deep-red state that hasn’t backed a Democrat for the White House in more than five decades.

Some 46% of likely Utah voters say they would support Trump if the election were held now compared to 41% who back Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, a poll by UtahPolicy.com and KUTV finds.

With a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points, the race is a statistical tie between the two candidates, though the president has consistently polled between 45% to 50% in the state during his presidency. Trump won about 45% of the vote in the 2016 race that included Democrat Hillary Clinton and independent Evan McMullin.

President Lyndon B. Johnson, in 1964, was the last Democrat to win Utah's support.

Scott Howell, who is running Biden’s campaign in Utah, said the poll shows residents are looking for solid leadership amid the coronavirus pandemic and losing faith in Trump.

“The poll reflects the moderate centrist Utahn who wants to have leadership that represents the values of the majority of Utah citizens,” Howell said.

Biden, the former vice president, relies on “using science and fact-based information” in approaching the response to the virus outbreak rather than “feeling and assumptions” like Trump does, Howell added.

The poll, conducted March 21-30 by Y2 Analytics and released Monday, surveyed 1,331 likely Utah voters.

The survey found 92% of strong Republicans and 57% of not-so-strong Republicans backing Trump with 81% of independents who lean GOP also supporting the president. More than 90% of those who described themselves as leaning, moderate or strong Democrats back Biden.