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UW Survey Finds Republicans Expected to Sweep Statewide Races

November 4, 2022

A recent survey of Wyoming voters shows Republican candidates on track to sweep the statewide races Nov. 8.

In the race for U.S. House, Harriet Hageman leads her Democratic challenger, Lynnette Grey Bull, 62 percent to 26 percent. Republican candidates for governor and superintendent of public instruction hold similar leads over their Democratic challengers.

Telephone interviews with 436 Wyoming residents selected at random were conducted Oct. 22-Nov. 3 by the University of Wyoming’s Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center’s Survey Research Center. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.7 percentage points.

Jim King, a professor of political science and the survey’s director, says the poll indicates that the 2022 contests in Wyoming do not vary substantially from previous elections.

“With the exception of Democratic Gov. Dave Freudenthal from 2003-2011, Republican candidates have won all races for the five statewide executive offices since 1994 and all races for the U.S. House of Representatives since 1978,” King says. “Our survey indicates that Republican domination of Wyoming elections continues.”

King notes that the Republicans are assured of winning the offices of secretary of state, treasurer and auditor, as there are no Democratic candidates on the ballot in these races.

Wyoming’s August primary drew national attention, as Hageman defeated incumbent Liz Cheney for the Republican nomination for U.S. House. That election continues to reverberate in the state.

Almost all of the survey respondents reporting that they voted for Hageman in the primary, 94 percent, are planning to vote for Hageman Nov. 8. However, 67 percent of those who voted for Cheney in August reported they intend to cast their ballots for Democrat Grey Bull.

In the race for governor, incumbent Mark Gordon is cruising to a second term. He has the support of 76 percent of survey respondents, including 89 percent of Republicans and 73 percent of independents. A majority of Democrats, 54 percent, are supporting Theresa Livingston, their party’s nominee, but nearly a third of Democrats, 31 percent, reported planning to vote for the incumbent Republican.

Assessments of the economy appear to have little impact on voters’ choices for governor.

“It isn’t surprising that most Wyomingites believe both the national economy and the state economy have gotten worse over the last year,” King says. “Eighty-two percent of our survey respondents said the U.S. economy has gotten worse, while 60 percent held the same opinion of the Wyoming economy. Despite this, assessment of economic conditions isn’t affecting people’s choices in the race for governor.”

Instead, general perceptions of Gordon’s performance in office seem to be influencing voters, with only those rating Gordon’s performance as “poor” preferring Livingston over the incumbent.

The most competitive of the statewide races is for superintendent of public instruction. Republican Megan Degenfelder leads Democrat Sergio Maldonado Sr. 54 percent to 24 percent, with 22 percent undecided. According to King, elections to lower-profile offices such as this typically hinge on party identification.

“A majority of the undecided voters in this race identify with the Republican Party and can be expected to support Degenfelder,” King says. “It’s doubtful that these people will cross party lines or that many of Degenfelder’s current supporters will switch their votes come election day. Although the race might be close, Degenfelder is expected to prevail.”

This year marks the 50th anniversary of biennial surveys of Wyoming residents by UW. Originally conducted by the Department of Political Science, the surveys are now sponsored by UW’s School of Politics, Public Affairs and International Studies in partnership with the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center. The questions focus on attitudes toward government, elected officials, candidates for office and contemporary policy issues.

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