This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Utah voters would prefer Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in a hypothetical 2016 showdown, according to a new online poll conducted by Brigham Young University.
Trump, the real estate billionaire and reality TV celebrity, received the support of 54 percent of respondents, while Clinton, the former secretary of state, received 46 percent.
These two are the front-runners of their respective parties, but they are also the candidates who received the highest unfavorable ratings in the Beehive State.
Trump, who has dominated the debate in the GOP primaries, was viewed unfavorably by 73 percent of the voters, while 22 percent like him.
Clinton's favorable-unfavorable split was 28 percent to 69 percent.
BYU's Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy regularly goes back to a panel of Utahns approached at exit polls from 2004 through 2014. The latest Utah Voter Poll took place between Aug. 11 and Aug. 17, reached 1,393 respondents and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.
BYU political scientist Jeremy Pope cautions people against taking too much stock in a poll conducted this early in the presidential contest. He said he and his colleagues thought it would be fun to see where the public sentiment was on a Trump vs. Clinton showdown.
"The interesting thing in the number is how well Clinton does against Donald Trump in such a Republican state," he said, suggesting that doesn't bode well for the entertainer-turned-politician.
What he found more interesting is the favorable/unfavorable numbers on the massive presidential field, a chance to gauge how familiar voters are with candidates.
The poll found that none of the presidential contenders received the support of more than half the respondents. The most popular Republican presidential candidates in the state are Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (46 percent favorable) followed by neurosurgeon Ben Carson (45 percent) and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (40 percent).
On the Democratic side, Sen. Bernie Sanders from Vermont was viewed positively by 33 percent of voters, while 36 had a negative impression. The remainder either didn't know who he was or had no opinion.