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Situational awareness - September 3, 2019

Good Tuesday morning from Salt Lake City.

Welcome back from the long holiday weekend.

Thanks for reading Utah's must-read daily political news rundown. Please encourage your friends and colleagues to sign up for our emails.

Here are the stories you need to pay attention to this morning:

  • There's a sharp partisan divide among Utahns over whether the 2020 census should include a citizenship question.
  • McAdams talks 2020, impeachment, and gun control. 
  • Hurricane Dorian is downgraded to a Category 3 but continues to threaten Florida.
  • Democrats plan to probe Trump's alleged role in hush-money payments.

Trivia time

Our polling shows President Donald Trump sitting at 40% in Utah ahead of his 2020 re-election bid. Trump carried Utah in 2016 with only 45.5% of the vote, which is a shockingly low level of support in a heavily Republican state. If Trump's support in Utah holds at that level, it would not be the lowest vote percentage by a winning presidential candidate in a popular vote statewide presidential election.

That honor belongs to Woodrow Wilson, who got 32.1% of the vote in Idaho in 1912. Thanks to Smart Politics for the answer.

Quite a few readers got the year right (1912), but incorrectly guessed Willam Howard Taft, who carried Vermont that year with 37.1%.


Days to the 2019 Utah municipal elections: 63 (11/5/2019)

Days to the first day of the 2020 Utah Legislature: 146 (1/27/2020)

Days to the Utah presidential primaries: 186 (3/3/2020)

Days to the 2020 Utah primary elections: 295 (6/23/2020)

Days to the 2020 election: 427 (11/3/2020)

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Today At Utah Policy

images/1000px_Article_Photos/2020_Census.jpgUtahns divided over including a citizenship question on the 2020 census
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Just over half of all Utahns say the U.S. Census next year should include a question on whether you are a citizen or not, a new UtahPolicy.com/Y2 Analytics poll finds.
images/1000px_Mugs/20190902_McAdams_Podcast.jpgPodcast: Rep. Ben McAdams on 2020, impeachment, the national debt and gun control
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Rep. Ben McAdams has the distinction of being the "most vulnerable" Democrat in Congress heading into the 2020 election.
images/1000px_Logos/Bernick_and_Schott_Logo_1000.jpgTrump trails Sanders and Booker in Utah - Bernick and Schott on politics
By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Support for Donald Trump's re-election in Utah sits at 40%. He trails Democrats Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders and is in a virtual tie with Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. While there's almost no chance Trump could lose Utah in 2020, his unpopularity could cause big problems for Utah Republicans down-ballot.
images/1000px_Article_Photos/Toll_Road_01.jpgHow should Utah fund roads? Our new poll shows Utahns oppose raising the gas tax or implementing tolls
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
Utahns recognize that the state per-gallon gasoline tax doesn't pay for all the road needs and that sales tax is diverted to roads, but they don't like the idea of raising the gas tax, and they really don't like the idea of charging tolls on some major roads, a new UtahPolicy.com/Y2 Analytics survey finds.
images/1000px_Mugs/Bernick_Mug_01.jpgBob Bernick's notebook: Trump's unpopularity could hurt Utah Republicans in 2020
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
 Bob Bernick Could GOP President Donald Trump actually lose Utah next year?Very unlikely.
images/Resized_Logos/Utah_Foundation_Logo_01.jpgUtah Thrives podcast: Education outcomes
By Utah Foundation
You might think, because Utah spends less per student in our public schools than any other state, that the results our students achieve in the classroom would also be low compared to states that spend more. But that's not true.
images/Logos/UTGOP_Logo_02.jpgAnalysis: Makeup of Utah Republican Party shifting
By Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
The Republican voter in Utah is changing, it appears. But is the Utah Republican Party changing with them?

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Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune



Hurricane Dorian

The storm has been downgraded to Category 3 as it continues to threaten the Florida coast. At least five people died in the Bahamas over the weekend because of the storm [AP].

President Donald Trump unleashed a barrage of 122 tweets over the long holiday weekend, many of them about Hurricane Dorian [NYT].

Gun Control

Democratic 2020 hopefuls are all over the map with proposals to address gun violence [NYT].

The investigations

Congressional Democrats say they plan to launch an investigation into President Trump's role in a hush-money scheme designed to keep several extramarital affairs from coming to light during the 2016 campaign [WaPo].


Some of President Trump's close advisers worry his erratic behavior over the summer may sabotage his chances at re-election in 2020 [WaPo].

Right now, the top-3 Democratic presidential contenders are Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. The rest of the field is fighting for attention and campaign dollars [Politico].

Just four states will likely determine the outcome of the 2020 presidential race [WaPo].

Why is Joe Biden running for president? [NYT]

Trump vs. the media

President Trump's campaign plan to make allegations of bias by social media platforms a key plank in his re-election efforts. The goal is to erode trust in information sources [Axios].


Last week President Trump tweeted out what appeared to be a classified photo of a failed Iranian rocket launch. The picture likely came from one of the US's newest, and most secret, spy satellites [Business Insider].

Ending the war in Afghanistan?

The US and Taliban have reached an agreement "in principle" for a gradual drawdown of the 14,000 troops in the country [CNN].

North Korea

Experts believe North Korea has developed missiles with greater range and maneuverability that could overwhelm American defenses in the region [NYT].


Policy News

images/1000px_Logos/Congressional_News_05.jpgRomney joins Republican colleagues in sending unified message against Democrats' court-packing threat
U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) joined all of his Senate Republican colleagues, led by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC), in sending a letter to the Supreme Court of the United States condemning Democrats' recent threats to pack the Supreme Court. Full text of the letter can be found below and here.
images/1000px_Logos/CYBER_24_Logo.jpgCYBER24 podcast: As more Utah state employees embrace teleworking, officials have eye on cybersecurity
Last month, Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox announced a pilot program testing the benefits of state employees teleworking showed increased productivity, reduced carbon output by eliminating the commute to an office and allows for more efficient use of state office space. 
Leading industry, academic experts appointed to Space Dynamics Lab board
Utah State University's Space Dynamics Laboratory announced it has named Lisa Berreau, Lesa Roe, and Kathryn Tobey to its Board of Trustees.
Utah companies receiving misleading mailers from 'UT Certificate Service' directing businesses to pay grossly inflated fee for company's Certificate of Existence which is already available for low cost from the State of Utah
Francine A. Giani, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Commerce, announced the Division of Corporations and Commercial Code and Division of Consumer Protection have received multiple reports that misleading letters are being sent to Utah businesses instructing owners to pay $72.50 for a Certificate of Existence with the state that normally costs $12.00 each.
Casual Friday: Weekend Events & Outdoors Report
Outdoors Report--KSL.com:Bear spotted on popular trail in Millcreek Canyon, hiker warns-- KSL.com: Salt Lake City approves $1.3M plan to repair Fisher Carriage House, open rec opportunities to public-- KSL.com: The secret life of Indian paintbrush-- KSL.com: Crews work to find cause, clean up after 3,000-foot rockfall in Zion-- KSL.com: Prehistoric Lake Bonneville trail progresses in Utah

More National Headlines


1777 - The U.S. flag was flown in battle for the first time during a Revolutionary War conflict at Cooch's Bridge, Delaware.

1783 - The Treaty of Paris was signed, officially ending the American Revolutionary War and recognizing U.S. independence from Britain.

1838 - Future abolitionist Frederick Douglass escapes from slavery.

1929 - The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 381.17, its pre-crash high.

1935 - Sir Malcolm Campbell reaches a speed of 304.331 miles per hour on the Bonneville Salt Flats, becoming the first person to drive an automobile over 300 mph.

1939 - Britain and France declared war on Germany, two days after the Nazi invasion of Poland.

1944 - Anne Frank and her family are placed on the last transport train from the Westerbork transit camp to the Auschwitz concentration camp.

1976 - The unmanned U.S. spacecraft Viking 2 landed on Mars to take the first close-up, color photographs of the planet.

Wise Words


"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." Francis of Assisi

Lighter Side

Beaches Open

"Despite major Wall Street losses yesterday and global fears of a recession, President Trump tweeted today, 'Consumers are in the best shape ever, plenty of cash, business optimism is at an all-time high.' And then the mayor from 'Jaws' tweeted, 'Beaches open - no sharks in sight.'" - SETH MEYERS

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