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Utah GOP Senate Primary Undecided Voters are the Decisive Plurality-Makers

Endorsement Dynamics: Trump's Influence and Romney's Targeted Appeal



PHOENIX (April 26, 2024)- The most interesting and impactful election in the State of Utah for this election cycle is the U.S. Senate race. With Utah Senator Mitt Romney's retirement, the race is on to fill his seat. Due to Utah's heavy Republican electorate, all the action is in the GOP Primary, which will make the General Election a lay-up for whoever comes out of the Senate GOP primary contest. Recent public opinion polling data from Noble Predictive Insights’ (NPI) latest Utah Public Opinion Pulse (UTPOP) finds that the GOP Senate Primary has significant potential for change – endorsements and the influence of undecided voters will be the catalysts.

 

This UTPOP, conducted from April 8–16, 2024, surveyed 600 registered voters in Utah, yielding a margin of error of ± 4.0%. The total sample included 283 registered Republicans, yielding a margin of error of ± 5.8%. 

 

Utah’s GOP Senate primary race is moving in slow motion with 41% of Republican voters undecided on whom they will vote for. Despite John Curtis' more-than 2:1 lead in the primary, the undecided bloc holds the potential to sway the outcome in favor of any candidate. Even among voters who currently have a preferred candidate, two-thirds remain open to changing their minds, indicating that this race is wide open for contenders.



april 2024 utpop gop sen primary


Of the three candidates who broke double-digit support, the current frontrunner, John Curtis, is the most popular among Republicans with a net favorability rating of +46. Brad Wilson isn’t far behind with a +40 net favorability rating, and Brent Hatch is less liked at +26 net favorability.


 

april 2024 utpop sen candidate favs

 


Although Utah is a reliably red state, it is not just one shade of red. Exactly half of Utah’s GOP electorate is party-first, identifying as supporters of the Republican Party, compared to only 35% who are Trump-first, aligning themselves with Donald Trump. When asked about their criteria for selecting a candidate for Senate, only 26% expressed a desire for unwavering support for Trump and his allies. Instead, a majority (58%) of GOP voters seek a candidate who is Trump-adjacent yet willing to challenge Trump when necessary.


 

april 2024 utpop sen candidate preferences


Moving forward, endorsements will play a crucial role in shaping voter preferences among Utah Republicans. Former President Donald Trump holds considerable sway, with 62% of GOP voters indicating they would be more likely to support a Trump-endorsed candidate, while 24% would view it as a strike against the candidate. Trump's endorsement holds particular weight among non-college-educated (67%) and conservative voters (72%). Undecided voters, in comparison, are less swayed – just over half (53%) would be more likely to vote for a Trump-endorsed candidate.



april 2024 utpop trump endorsement


In contrast, Senator Mitt Romney's endorsement presents a more nuanced dynamic. While Romney's endorsement would be a wash among all Republicans (41% more likely / 47% less likely), it holds potential sway among specific demographic segments. A Romney-endorsed candidate would perform best among:

·       Moderate Republicans (53% more likely / 37% less likely)

·       College-educated Republicans (49% / 40%)

·       Republicans ages 18-54 (49% / 41%)

·       Party-first Republicans (47% / 39%)


april 2024 utpop romney endoresement


Endorsements from allies of Trump – such as Kari Lake, Matt Gaetz, or Tommy Tuberville –would appeal to the same subsections of the GOP electorate as a Trump endorsement, just less powerfully (41% more likely / 27% less likely). However, among undecided voters, endorsements from allies of Trump (30% / 29%) or from Romney (40% / 46%) could do as much harm as good. These endorsements would need to be targeted for optimal effectiveness.



april 2024 utpop trump ally endorsement


“At this point in the race, two-thirds of votes are malleable. Candidates will have to carefully navigate their affiliations and messaging strategies to be competitive,” said Mike Noble, NPI Founder & CEO. “The challenge here will be appealing to undecided voters without alienating them – a delicate balancing act that will shape the trajectory of this race.”


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Methodology: This poll was conducted as an online opt-in panel survey. The survey was completed by Noble Predictive Insights from April 8–16, 2024 from a Utah statewide registered voter sample. The sample demographics were weighted to accurately reflect gender, region, age, party affiliation, ethnicity, and education. The sample size was 600 registered voters, yielding a MoE of ± 4.0%. The total sample included 283 registered Republicans, yielding a margin of error of ± 5.8%. Numbers may not equal 100% due to rounding. 


Media Contact:

Veronica Sutliff, Noble Predictive Insights, v.sutliff@npredictive.com, (602) 390-5248

Sydney Evenson, Noble Predictive Insights, s.evenson@npredictive.com, (602) 350-1065


About Noble Predictive Insights: As a nonpartisan public opinion polling, market research, and data analytics firm, Noble Predictive Insights exists to transform how leaders make decisions by delivering data-based solutions and predictive insights that provide a clear path forward. We bridge the gap between research and strategy with customized strategic research, a hyper-focus on impact, and being true partners with our clients. Noble Predictive Insights (formerly O.H. Predictive Insights) is a 2023 Inc. 5000 fastest-growing company in the Southwest region, and is ranked in the top 15 most accurate pollsters as well as in the top 5 for lowest average bias in the 2021-22 election cycle by FiveThirtyEight. For more information, please call (602) 326-5694 or visit our website at www.noblepredictiveinsights.com.

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