Clinton makes questionable Utah investment as Trump plays delay game

SMU experts are available for interview on all things related to the current state of the presidential race.

DALLAS (SMU)SMU experts are available for interview on all things related to the current state of the presidential race. A full list of available faculty and their areas of expertise is available here.




On reports that Clinton has opened a field office in Utah…

  • “She has an outside chance (of winning Utah), but it still seems like a waste of resources. It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Utah is a decisive state. If she’s just romping to victory everywhere, she could win Utah, but it would just be icing on the cake – a superfluous and anomalous result that wouldn’t be sustained (by Democrats) in the future. It’s got everything to do with Trump if she wins there and nothing to do with Clinton.”

On whether Clinton can swing the Mormon vote to the Democratic Party…

  • “Mormons have been strongly Republican for quite some time and Utah is usually not competitive, and has not be for decades. There are no trends in the Mormon electorate to suggest it’s becoming more competitive. The only reason anyone thinks it might be this time is because Trump is uniquely repugnant to Mormons. It’s not a thing where an investment of resources would pay dividends in the future.”

Wilson is an SMU associate professor of Political Science. Books published:

  • Politics and Religion in the United States. With Michael Corbett and Julia Corbett-Hemeyer. Routledge Press, 2013.
  • Understanding American Politics. With Stephen Brooks and Douglas L. Koopman. University of Toronto Press, 2013.
  • From Pews to Polling Places: Faith and Politics in the American Religious Mosaic. Georgetown University Press, 2007. Edited volume including authored chapter.





On the debates being scheduled on NFL nights…

  • “I don’t think debates will move. I guess I’m controversial on this, but I think the NFL should move its games or not broadcast. To me, the first debate especially is just that important. The only thing that surpasses it in ratings is the Super Bowl. I think there’s a little onus on the NFL. Just move the game two hours earlier.”

On Donald Trump having not yet committed to any of the presidential debates, with the first one just over a month away…

  • “It’s a little unusual, but some of his delaying might be related to the pretty big top-level changes his campaign has gone through the past week. Paul Manafort being gone probably affects their agreement cycle. I think the Trump camp is trying to pressure the debate folks (for concessions). He’ll do the debate, but he’s trying to be aloof and play it for some value.”

On the selection of moderators playing a role in the delay of debates…

  • “We still don’t know the moderators, which is potentially a hotter topic. Coming out of 2012, there was a lot of controversy around Candy Crowley‘s performance during a debate (when she interrupted an argument between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama to say Romney had his facts wrong), so the selection of moderators might be something Trump is trying to negotiate. Usually by now all these things are finalized. In fact, changing a location 2-3 weeks ago was almost unprecedented. Bringing the Breitbart leader into his campaign suggests Trump takes media arguments seriously. I think his camp will try to get a Fox News moderator, which was a striking exclusion in 2012, but after his confrontation with Megyn Kelly, I might be wrong.”

Voth is SMU’s director of debate and an associate professor of corporate communications and public affairs. He can discuss:

  • debate prep
  • debate strategy
  • comparisons between this debate season and the 2012 election’s debate season





On the disparity in spending between campaigns…

  • “It came out that Trump spent $19 million in July and Clinton spent $45 million. The money is coming in, she’s spending it, but he isn’t. If I were the Clinton campaign, I’d be wondering, ‘What’s he saving that money for?’ Trump has this nontraditional campaign that Clinton is lined up against, and it would make me nervous if I were her. Clinton’s outspending him and controlling the narrative, she has a huge lead in the Electoral College, but what is he doing with that money?”

On Clinton’s big Electoral College lead, and opening a field office in Utah…

  • “It would be a big lift for Clinton to turn Utah blue, but when she has this pretty big lead in the Electoral College already, I imagine running up the score in the popular vote is appealing. Win by eight or nine points nationally and people start using the world ‘landslide,’ and I’m sure that would make her feel stronger when she moves into office. It would help to inoculate her somewhat against the ‘most un-liked new president in history’ tag.”

On Trump campaigning in Texas this week…

  • “I don’t read too much into it. I think it’s more for fundraising than anything. Trump never shored up his fundraising over the summer, so he’s having to do more fundraising than other GOP candidates have had to do in the fall. It is amazing Texas is polling as close as it is, though.”

Martin is an SMU assistant professor of Communication Studies in the Meadows School of the Arts. She can discuss:

  • economic messages in political campaigns
  • presidential campaign strategy
  • religious voters and evangelical social movements


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