Most Wyomingites will vote for Republican White House contender Donald Trump, according to a newly released survey conducted by the University of Wyoming.
The survey found 58 percent of likely voters preferred Trump, while 20 percent preferred Clinton. Nine percent of respondents said they liked Libertarian Gary Johnson and 2 percent backed Jill Stein, a Green Party candidate who will appear on Wyoming ballots as an independent.
In Wyoming’s race for U.S. House, Republican Liz Cheney holds a 16-point lead over Democrat Ryan Greene, 53 percent to 37 percent.
The survey is the only independent scientific poll of the 2016 presidential race in Wyoming.
Researchers at the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center talked to 722 randomly selected Wyoming residents on the telephone Oct. 5-11. The survey’s margin of error is plus or minus 3.6 percent.
Cheney’s campaign manager, Bill Novotny, said the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney will stay focused through Nov. 8. He said a vote for Greene will be a vote for U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California as his party’s leader. Pelosi is considered too liberal in some Republican circles.
“From day one, our campaign has worked hard every day to earn every vote, never taken a single issue or vote for granted and never been outworked,” he said. “Liz Cheney outlined that strategy when she launched the campaign in February and we haven’t deviated from it. That is why she is continuing to travel to communities in every corner of our state to talk directly with voters about their concerns and the changes they want to see in Washington.”
Greene’s campaign manager Max Weiss said many Republicans are backing Greene, a welder, over Cheney, who he said has never worked in Wyoming.
“It’s discouraging that some survey respondents are supporting a candidate that has never worked in Wyoming, and tried to unseat Sen. (Mike) Enzi,” he said.
UW political science professor Jim King, who directed the survey, said in a statement that the poll’s results for president and U.S. House reflect historical trends.
“Republican candidates have had margins over their Democratic challengers of between 32 percent and 40 percent in the past four presidential elections,” he said. “This year’s election appears to fit neatly with this history.”
Different this year in responses for the presidential race is that most voters are basing their decisions not on support for a particular candidate but on opposition to another candidate, King said. Forty percent of respondents said their vote was in support of a candidate and 59 percent said it was in opposition to another candidate.
“This pattern appears consistently across Trump, Clinton, Johnson and Stein voters,” he said.
Three-fourths of the respondents were dissatisfied with the choices between the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees, with 47 percent saying they were very dissatisfied and 27 percent somewhat dissatisfied.
UW researchers asked respondents how well specific words or phrases described the two major party candidates. A majority of people thought “intelligent” described both Trump and Clinton. But “has the temperament to be president” didn’t describe either.
Nearly two-thirds of people polled believed the phrase “can make tough decisions” described Trump well. Roughly the same proportion thought it did not describe Clinton.
Bonnie Foster, Trump’s campaign director in Wyoming, said she’s seen polling showing Trump ahead in the Cowboy State by a similar margin.
“I am not surprised at those statistics,” she said. “Because people are voting for him for the economy. He’s pro-coal and all those things that make us work.”
The Star-Tribune reached out to a Denver-based spokeswoman in Clinton’s campaign for comment. She did not reply. The newspaper also wrote to a woman who works in Clinton’s Wyoming office. She did not reply.
Bruce Palmer, Wyoming Democratic Party vice president, said he’s not surprised that most of Wyoming is backing Trump.
“I think people should vote for Hillary Clinton because she’s the most qualified person,” he said. “Former secretary of state, former U.S. senator, and she’s running against a guy who is a bigot and seems happy putting it out there.”