POLL: Independent presidential candidate surges into stunning lead in deep-red state

Evan McMullin — an independent conservative presidential candidate who launched his campaign in early August — has vaulted into first place in Utah, according to a new poll.

A Wednesday poll from Emerson College showed McMullin leading the pack in Utah with 31% support. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump came in second with 27%, followed by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton with 24%. Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson received 5% of the overall support.

The poll found that 51% of Utah voters who backed Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in the primary now say they are voting for McMullin. Just 29% of Cruz voters in Utah are leaning toward Trump, per the poll.

McMullin has also been gaining ground in the RealClearPolitics polling average for Utah, which has him up to 24.4% in the state. He trails Trump by 6.4 points and Clinton by 0.8 points.

A third-party or independent candidate has not won a state since since 1968, when then-Alabama Gov. George Wallace, who was running on the American Independent Party ticket.

Emerson surveyed 700 respondents with a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points.

NOW WATCH: Obama: Trump couldn’t get a job at 7-Eleven

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.