Poll: Romney would beat Trump in Utah

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSessions accepts 'Fox News Sunday' invitation to debate, Tuberville declines Priest among those police cleared from St. John's Church patio for Trump visit Trump criticizes CNN on split-screen audio of Rose Garden address, protesters clashing with police MORE would lose the Utah Republican primary in his reelection bid if the state's junior GOP senator, Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneySenate Republicans urge Trump to tone down rhetoric on protests Congress flying blind: Why now is the time to revive the Office of Technology Assessment Trump asserts his power over Republicans MORE, were to challenge him, according to a new survey.

The poll, conducted by the Arizona-based firm OH Predictive Insights, shows Utah Republicans favor Romney by a 55 to 37 percent margin over Trump.

"Republican base voters around the country back President Trump survey after survey shows," said Mike Noble, OH's chief of research, said in a statement. "But Beehive State voters buck that trend."


Though it is one of the more reliably Republican states in the union, Utah has given Trump more headaches than other conservative states. He came in a distant third in the Utah Republican caucuses in 2016, scoring just 14 percent of the vote. Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzHillicon Valley: Facebook employees speak up against content decisions | Trump's social media executive order on weak legal ground | Order divides conservatives Ted Cruz criticizes Justin Timberlake tweet The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump tweets as tensions escalate across US MORE (R-Texas) took 69 percent of the vote in those caucuses, and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) had almost 17 percent.

In November 2016, Trump won just 45 percent of the vote. That was enough to win Utah's six electoral votes, but 21 percent of voters — nearly a quarter million people — chose independent candidate Evan McMullin, a Utah native running as a conservative alternative to Trump, instead. Trump's total was the lowest of any Republican to win Utah since George H.W. Bush took 43 percent there in 1992.

Romney, twice a candidate for president and the Republican nominee in 2012, said in January he would not challenge Trump.

The new poll shows Romney beats Trump among both voters who call themselves somewhat conservative and those who are very conservative, and among voters who say they are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, of which Romney is a member.

Romney, who got his bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University and turned around the struggling Salt Lake City Winter Olympics organizing committee in 2002, is hugely popular in his adopted state. He scored 71 percent of the vote in the 2018 Republican primary, and he took more than 62 percent of the vote in November's general election.

The survey, conducted from March 15 to March 27, polled 275 Republicans in Utah by phone and online. It carries a margin of 5.9 percentage points.