On Tuesday, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. resigned from his post as United States Ambassador to Russia and is predicted to run for governor again in 2020. Recent polling for the gubernatorial election provides early insight on the preferences of Utah voters, specifically for candidates Huntsman and Spencer Cox.
Polling conducted by the Cicero Group for the Salt Lake Chamber shows that Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox and Former Governor Jon Huntsman Jr are the current favorites for Utah voters going into 2020. Though Lt. Governor Cox is the only official candidate of the race, the poll also presented four other likely Republican candidates, including the former governor, and the prospective Democratic nominee.
Blake Moore, a principal at the Cicero Group, interpreted the results in relation to the Republican primary scheduled for Super Tuesday on March 3.
“Based on the numbers, out of Huntsman and Cox, those two seem like the strongest leaders - if it were held today, you see Cox in the lead for the Republican primary,” he said.
When presented the option between only Cox and Huntsman, the Lt. Governor polls highest for Republicans 43 to 34 percent; however, the former governor is a strong favorite among Democrats, prevailing 58 to 24 points, and unaffiliated voters, leading 53 to 32 points. If the general election were held today with all candidates included in the poll, it would likely be a toss-up between Cox and Huntsman, and in a head-to-head between the two, Huntsman leads Cox 43 to 37 percent for all Utah voters.
Though Huntsman is the preferred candidate for Utahns regardless of political affiliation, it is uncertain if Huntsman can make it to the general election through the Republican primary. Moore noted that it is early and these results cannot be directly translated to the future outcome.
“Again, very early, but you have several others that are getting involved in the race, others probably going to join the conversation, so a lot can happen,” he said, “We think it’s going to be a fun, fascinating race.”