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Utah Voters Begin to Consider Third-Party Candidates

  As Utahns weigh their options for President, many are beginning to consider third-party candidates.

A recent survey found that if the election were today, only about 36% of Utahns would vote for Donald Trump. In comparison, thirty percent would vote for a third-party or write-in candidate.  

Many anti-Trump Republicans in Utah are considering the nominee of the Libertarian Party, Gary Johnson.

William Eggington is Secretary of the Salt Lake County Libertarian Party. He says there are several reasons why Donald Trump has had a hard time winning over Utah Republicans.

“I think that his record on fiscal conservancy and understanding of the Constitution is shaky at best,” Eggington says. “Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party speak to that population.”

Another Salt Lake County Libertarian, Charlynn Patterson, described Johnson as a candidate that is fiscally conservative and socially liberal.

She says after Ted Cruz and John Kasich suspended their campaigns in May, Google Analytics showed Utah as the lead state for search terms like “libertarian party” and “Gary Johnson.”

“So I know it’s important to Utahns to understand what libertarianism is all about,” Patterson says. “We’ve seen record numbers of people attending our meetings, donating to the party, registering as a libertarian.”

Yet many voters worry that voting for a third-party candidate will only help a less desired candidate win the White House.

“I really don’t like when I hear that a vote for the Libertarian Party is a wasted vote,” Patterson says. “A vote on philosophy and your principal is never a wasted vote.”

Johnson is a former Republican governor of New Mexico. During his first White House bid in 2012, he received about 1% of the popular vote.  Now he’s polling around 10 percent, both nationally and in Utah.

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