It’s clear that Evan McMullin’s surge from unknown to contender to win Utah — and become the first nonmajor party candidate to win a state since 1968 — is real. Virtually every Utah poll that comes out now has him in a close race with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and our forecast models give him an 18 to 25 percent chance of winning the state. McMullin’s chances of sending the election to the U.S. House of Representatives – where he might have an outside shot at becoming president – have risen slightly, as well. All three of our models have the chances of an Electoral College deadlock at around 1 percent. And McMullin has been receiving some flattering press.1
It’s possible, however, that McMullin’s surge has stalled.
McMullin’s improved position has drawn the attention of Trump himself, who lashed out at him as someone Trump has “never heard of2,” saying he is a puppet of conservative columnist Bill Kristol, and deriding him for “going from coffee shop to coffee shop” — in Utah.
McMullin has also drawn the ire of Trump supporters, with predictably nasty responses from the worst, such as a white nationalist reportedly placing robocalls to accuse McMullin of being a closeted homosexual (because McMullin’s mother is a lesbian), or “joking” about the Mormon genocide that will take place if Utah costs Trump the election.
But the main rallying cry of the anti-McMullin campaign is still the claim that voting for McMullin could help Clinton get elected. Of course, McMullin winning Utah would be very unlikely to help Clinton, since the House delegations who would select …