Presidential polls out of Utah have shown a tight race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, but it might not actually be that close.
Registered Utah voters ages 18-34 made up 8% of the poll, but that’s a low sample compared to turnout in recent elections.
In 2014, 18-34 -year-olds made up 13% of the Utah electorate, and in 2012, a presidential election year, they made up 28.7%, according to the Utah Voter File.
“They have half as many, maybe a third of what they need to have,” said Quin Monson, a BYU associate political science professor. “I think they got it wrong. I think that he’s behind.”
The poll, conducted by Survey USA for the Salt Lake Tribune and the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics, found among Utah voters ages 18-34, Johnson leads with 32%, followed by Clinton at 26%, and Trump at 16%, with 24% undecided.
Utah is the third-most Republican state, according to Gallup, but Trump didn’t perform well in its caucus, coming in third. It makes the state a possible bellwether as he continues to face resistance from members of his own party; if Trump can win over voters in Utah, it’s good news for him nationwide. But that hasn’t happened.
Monson said he thinks young voters in Utah like Trump the least of any age group because “they have a more sensitive ear” to his comments about groups like immigrants, Muslims, and women, and because “there’s less anger and susceptibility.”
One possible reason the Survey USA poll underrepresented young voters was because 18% were cell phone respondents, a low figure compared with Pew, which announced in January it would call 75% cellphones for its 2016 phone surveys.