Almost half of Idahoans say they would vote for Donald Trump in a head-to-head matchup with likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, according to the latest poll released by Idaho Politics Weekly.
The poll of 603 adults, taken from May 18 to June 4, shows 49 percent support for Trump, compared to 32 percent for Clinton, with 18 percent still undecided.
If Bernie Sanders becomes the Democratic nominee, however, the poll shows a much closer race, within the 4 percent margin of error — 46 percent for Trump, 43 for Sanders, 11 undecided. This poll shows little movement from one released more than a month ago, before Trump had the Republican nomination sewed up, which showed Trump beating Clinton 49-32 — the same margin as this latest poll — but beating Sanders just 45-43.
Clinton is likely going to be the Democratic nominee, barring either a huge Sanders upset in the remaining primaries tomorrow and/or hundreds of superdelegates switching sides. Sanders' polling numbers in Idaho, though, do stand out for a state that has given the Republican presidential candidate more than 60 percent of the vote in most elections since 1972. (Gerald Ford finished a hair under 60 in 1976, and in 1992 and 1996 you had a third-party candidate, Ross Perot, who got a substantial share.) The last Democratic presidential candidate to win in Idaho was Lyndon Johnson, who carried the state by about 2 percent of the vote the year he beat Barry Goldwater in a 44-state blowout.
Going by the primary/caucus results, neither Trump nor Clinton is the first choice of their parties' voters in Idaho — Ted Cruz beat Trump by almost 20 percent in the GOP primary, with a particularly weak showing in the heavily Mormon southeastern corner of the state, while Sanders beat Clinton almost 4-1 in the Democratic caucus. Clinton had a good deal of support from Idaho Democratic politicians before the primary, but Trump had very little declared support from Idaho politicians on his side until Cruz dropped out, making his nomination a virtual certainty.
Many of the speakers at the Idaho Republican Convention, which was held from last Thursday through Saturday in Nampa, talked about the need to support Trump to prevent Clinton from getting into the White House, often focusing on the Supreme Court vacancy and that Trump, unlike Clinton, will likely appoint a conservative judge to the bench.
The poll also showed that in Idaho, just like around the country, there is a big gap in Trump support between men and women. Fifty-one percent of men said they plan to vote for Trump, but just 32 percent of women. Twenty-nine percent of women say they will vote Democratic, while 17 percent said they would vote for someone else, 5 percent said they wouldn't vote at all, 8 percent said they would vote, but not on the presidential line, and 8 percent said they don't know.
In a news release announcing the results, the pollsters said this is "a huge gap that is not normally seen among genders in almost any question Jones has asked over 40 years of polling." It is consistent, though, with the gender gap in Trump support seen in other states and nationally — a national poll in late May showed a 22-point difference between men and women when it comes to Trump.
Trump is also lagging among independents, with only 34 percent saying now that they will vote for him. Unaffiliated voters — although a majority of them generally vote Republican, going on election results — have historically been the biggest share of the Idaho electorate, but earlier this year registered Republicans pulled ahead for the first time, likely driven by people affiliating to vote in the closed presidential primary.
Dan Jones and Associates, based in Salt Lake City, did the polling.