Will support Deseret News Gary Johnson

Utah: How Trump could gamble away one of the most conservative US states

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Washington / Vienna - The matter actually seems clear: the poll site fivethirtyeight.com also estimated the probability of Donald Trump's victory in the presidential elections in the US state of Utah on Tuesday at a lush 97 percent. And yet the regional media are excited. Because since the publication of the video in which Trump boasts of sexual assault, the mood in the conservative, mostly Mormon state has turned. For the first time since 1964, it seems possible that the Republican Party's candidate in the conservative, Mormon-dominated state will miss out on victory.

Because the utterances run counter to the very conservative values ​​of family and chastity that many Mormons usually consider the Republican Party to be the advocate of. Now many fear that they themselves will be associated with Trump's statements and thus lose votes in the long term. The rejection from the regional branch of the party came correspondingly quickly at the weekend: Governor Gary Herbert, himself a Mormon, withdrew his support by saying that the statements were "more than just insulting and disgusting".

"Can't look my daughter in the eye"

Congressman Jason Chaffetz, Hillary Clinton's persecutor in the email affair, followed suit. He could no longer look his wife and 15-year-old daughter in the eyes if he continued to support Trump and his statements. The traditionally politically cautious newspaper "Deseret News" even recommended its readers directly not to vote for Trump. The candidate should refrain from running in the elections and make way for a more suitable candidate, wrote the daily owned by the Mormon Church.

Trump had only just laboriously won over the state. In the Republican primaries in the spring, the real estate mogul only got 14 percent of the vote, also because of opposition from prominent Mormons, including the 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney. That gave Clinton's electoral strategists hope early on that they would be able to make the landslide this time. For the first time in decades, a democratic campaign has opened its own polling station in Utah.

Hour of the alternative candidates

But at least so far, Trump's damage in the polls has not been converted directly into a gain for Clinton. Although it was always between 25 and 35 percent in surveys, it did not exceed this value. Now she could still reach her goal via detours: While there are hardly any Mormon authorities who recommend the election of the Democrat, many turn to the candidates of the small parties.

Gary Johnson, who has been the governor of the neighboring state of New Mexico for many years as an independent, has opened his nationwide campaign headquarters in Salt Lake City, and polls have already had approval ratings of around twelve percent. Other influential Republicans, on the other hand, recommend a vote for another "Never Trump" candidate, ex-intelligence officer Evan McMullin. The politically little-known Mormon tried a few months ago to position himself as a candidate for the party’s internal Trump opponents.

It could be tight

What Johnson and - especially - McMullin and other fallback candidates have in common is that they will barely get enough votes to win the state election. However, it is conceivable that they will take away Trump's votes. Possibly enough to get a Clinton win with 30 percent of the vote. The most recent polls are from mid-September. New ones are eagerly awaited. (Manuel Escher, October 11, 2016)