University of Wyoming student Sean Feehan generally identifies as Republican, but this year, he is voting for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president rather than Republican candidate Donald Trump.
“I disagree with Clinton on many things, but I can at least respect her life of service and expect her to lead our country properly,” Feehan said. “I don’t feel safe with Donald Trump running the country I live in.”
But Feehan is likely an outlier in the Cowboy State. A recent study released by the UW Political Science Department shows Trump is ahead of Clinton by leaps and bounds.
“Since the voter dissatisfaction crosses party lines, with both Republicans and Democrats unhappy with their choices, it isn’t surprising that the likely voters are dividing along traditional party lines in the state,” UW professor of political science and survey director Jim King said.
Although Trump has fallen in national polls, the study showed him ahead of Clinton by 38 percent in the Republican-majority state of Wyoming.
“The ups and downs of the national campaign might affect Trump’s support on the margins, but won’t change the outcome of the vote in the state,” King said.
The study did reveal 59 percent of Wyomingites are voting “in opposition to a candidate.” Of the 722 residents surveyed, three-fourths said both the Democrat and Republican presidential nominees dissatisfy them.
The study also reported Republican Liz Cheney ahead of Democrat Ryan Greene by 16 percent in the race for U.S. House of Representatives.
“It could not be more clear that Liz is the candidate best prepared to bring attention to Wyoming’s needs in congress, and lead an effort to defend our freedom, our economy, our borders and our constitutional rights,” Cheney Campaign Manager Bill Novotny said.
Joe Barbuto, Greene campaign operations director, said the study does not worry the campaign. After the public debate last week, Barbuto said the campaign has “experienced a massive boost in support from Republicans.”
“The debate encouraged all of us at the Greene campaign,” he said. “The vice president’s daughter could not tell voters why her life in the D.C. Metro area and career in the Federal Government made her the ‘right’ choice for Wyoming.”
Although Wyoming Democrats and Republicans are strongly supporting Greene and Cheney, respectively, King said Cheney’s lead in the study does not surprise him.
“In a state where Republicans hold substantial advantage over Democrats, this poll result raises no eyebrows,” he said.
King said he expects the Nov. 8 voting results to closely align with the study unless public’s perceptions of candidates is altered by a major event.
In regards to voters crossing party lines, such as Feehan who is a Republican voting Democrat, Niko Kolis, field organizer for Narina Nunez’s State Senate campaign, said this does seem to be a trend this election cycle.
“I have noticed what appears to be an increase in voters’ propensity to cross party lines,” Kolis said. “Wyoming voters are obviously tired of the status quo.”
Early voting in Wyoming has started and continues through Election Day until 7 p.m. The Albany County Courthouse provides and receives any early voting ballots from within the county. Residents can register and cast their day-of votes Nov. 8 at designated polling locations, which can be determined by going to www.co.albany.wy.us/poll-locator.aspx.