If it’s Lee vs. McMullin, it won’t be a traditional Utah race, says political insider

Jun 10, 2022, 4:15 PM | Updated: Jun 11, 2022, 9:31 am
Utah Senate candidate Evan McMullin is taking a political action committee and three television sta...
Utah Senate candidate Evan McMullin is taking a political action committee and three television stations to court over a defamatory ad. Photo credit: Weston Kenney, The Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY —  If Sen. Mike Lee emerges victorious from the Republican primary to face independent candidate Evan McMullin in the general election, it could be a close race, a new Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll* shows:

The poll asked, “If the general election were held today, and the following individuals were the candidates for U.S. Senate, who would you vote for?” The answers looked like this:

  • Republican Mike Lee: 41%
  • Independent Evan McMullin: 37%
  • Don’t know: 19%
  • Other: 4%

McMullin is in the race because a majority of delegates in the Utah Democratic Party decided on April 23 not to put forth a Democratic candidate to face off against Lee. Instead, they decided to back McMullin.

Lee vs. McMullin would not be a traditional Utah race

Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics, weighed in on what is behind the polling. He joined Debbie Dujanovic and guest host Scott Simpson.

If the general election comes down to Lee vs. McMullin, Perry said, “There is nothing traditional about what is happening in this race.”

Post-primary focus

“I made this assertion with Debbie earlier in the show that things will change for Evan McMullen after we get through this primary cycle,” Simpson said. “How do you see this changing for him once it is truly a binary choice between these two candidates?”

Perry predicts Lee will prevail in the Republican primary, which is June 28.

“The numbers are showing that when it comes to the Republican primary, Senator Mike Lee is in a really good position, I think,” he said. “Pretty decent likelihood he’s the one that emerges as the Republican candidate.”

Referencing the poll, Debbie asked if the 19% of respondents who answered with “Don’t Know” believe the two candidates are too close together on the same issues.

Could some of these voters go either way when it comes to the general election?

“I think that could be,” Perry said, adding that undecided voters know Lee and are familiar with McMullin as a 2016 presidential candidate.  But they may not know where he lands on policy.

“That 19% [of voters] are going to wait and see,” Perry said, “they’re gonna say, ‘Well, what kind of candidate is Evan McMullen?’ I think they know Mike Lee, but what kind of candidate is Evan McMullin? Is he going to represent both sides or is he going to go back to some of those historical policy positions, which have been Republican?”

What happens if it’s Lee vs. McMullin in November?

The race changes once the general election campaigns begin to rev up, Perry said.

“I really think it’s going to be about fundraising. That’s what’s going to change the second that those two names come [forward] because as we can see, it becomes very close and the sides become very divided.”

* The poll, conducted by Dan Jones & Associates from May 24-June 4, 2022 of 810 registered Utah voters, has a margin of error of +/- 3.46 percentage points.



Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Dave & Dujanovic

education legislation...
Mark Jones

One Utah lawmaker wants to ban cellphones in classrooms

One Utah lawmaker wants to ban cellphones in Utah classrooms.
21 hours ago
It's so cold today (Jan. 30) that plumbers are expecting calls anytime from customers needing servi...
Curt Gresseth

When it’s this cold, keep your pipes from freezing. Here’s how.

It's so cold outside today that a plumber has joined the show to share tips on keeping your pipes inside and outside your home from freezing.
21 hours ago
Spanish Fork High School in Spanish Fork is pictured on Friday March 12, 2021. Students at Spanish ...
Mark Jones

Concurrent enrollment provides students with options in Nebo School District

Programs such as concurrent enrollment can give high school students and their parents options.
5 days ago
artificial intelligence banjo...
Curt Gresseth

ChatGPT: Plagiarism super-tool for students or AI brainstorming generator?

Will the future of AI be the interactive chatbot ChatGPT helping cheaters ace exams and tests or a new tool to assist all students in learning?
5 days ago
Elizabeth Weiler

UTA board looks at FrontRunner expansion in Utah County

Utah County is the fastest growing county in the state so UTA is considering a number of expansions to their current FrontRunner and bus lines. 
5 days ago
Curt Gresseth

Banks to launch app to compete with Apple Pay and Venmo

Banks are launching a new app for online money transfers that customers can trust to protect their finances.
6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
If it’s Lee vs. McMullin, it won’t be a traditional Utah race, says political insider