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UW Survey: Wyoming Voters Prefer Trump to Clinton

October 25, 2016

A recent survey of Wyoming voters shows Republican nominee Donald J. Trump leading Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by a substantial margin.

The survey, conducted by the University of Wyoming, found Trump to be the preference of 58 percent of likely voters in Wyoming and Clinton the preference of 20 percent, with Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson preferred by 9 percent and independent candidate Jill Stein by 2 percent.

Telephone interviews with 722 Wyoming residents selected at random were conducted Oct. 5-11 by the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center’s Survey Research Center. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

Jim King, professor of political science and the survey’s director, says the poll indicates that the 2016 presidential contest in Wyoming will not vary substantially from recent elections.

“Republican candidates have had margins over their Democratic challengers of between 32 percent and 40 percent in the past four presidential elections,” King says. “This year’s election appears to fit neatly with this history.”

What is different, according to King, is that a majority of voters are basing their decisions on opposition to candidates rather than on support for a particular candidate.

“When we asked survey respondents if they were mainly supporting a candidate or opposing other candidates, 40 percent said their vote was in support of a candidate and 59 percent said their vote was in opposition to a candidate,” King says. “This pattern appears consistently across Trump, Clinton, Johnson and Stein voters.”

Dissatisfaction with Clinton and Trump as the major-party candidates is an important factor in these results. Nearly half of survey respondents -- 47 percent -- indicated they are “very dissatisfied” with the choice between the Democratic and Republican nominees. Another 27 percent are “somewhat dissatisfied,” bringing the combined “dissatisfied” responses to three-fourths of the survey’s sample.

Asked how well specific words or phrases described the two candidates, majorities replied that “intelligent” described both Trump and Clinton “extremely well” or “quite well,” but that “has the temperament to be president” did not describe either candidate well.

The personal quality on which voters see the greatest difference between the two candidates is on “can make tough decisions.” Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents believed this phrase described Trump extremely well or quite well, while roughly the same proportion thought this phrase described Clinton “not too well” or “not well at all.”

In the race to succeed Cynthia Lummis as U.S. representative from Wyoming, Republican Liz Cheney holds a 53 percent to 37 percent lead over Democrat Ryan Greene among likely voters. This suggests that the results of the 2016 contest will reflect past years when the House seat was open, as Dick Cheney, Barbara Cubin and Lummis all won their first congressional elections with between 53 and 59 percent of the vote.

Biennial surveys of Wyoming residents are conducted by UW’s Department of Political Science in partnership with the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center. The questions focus on attitudes toward government, contemporary policy issues, elected officials and candidates for office.

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