Air Quality Among Top Concerns of Utah Voters

Utah Foundation Logo 01The top issues in the Utah Priorities Project share a very strong concern among Utah voters.

If Utah Foundation’s statewide voter survey had been limited to just those residing on the Wasatch Front, air quality would be the top issue. It’s #2 on the top ten list when you include the rest of the state. 68% of the voters surveyed ranked air quality 4 or 5 on a 5-point scale as an issue of high concern. The data is included in the research brief published today at

What Utahns are willing to do about air quality brings up some disagreement. 41% agreed with the statement, “I am willing to change the way I commute to work or school to help clean up the air.” 27% disagreed.

41% also agreed with the statement, “Government should act to improve air quality, even if our taxes increase or it puts jobs at risk.” 33% disagreed on that point. 80% of respondents who identified themselves as liberal agreed with the government action statement, while only 24% of conservative respondents did.

“It is interesting to see that while more than two-thirds of Utahns are concerned about air quality, only about 40% of us will take action for changing the way the commute to work,” said Shawn Teigen, Research Director at Utah Foundation. “It would be interesting to know what other actions people would agree to, like turning down their thermostats in the winter and not idling to warm up their cars on cold mornings.”

The brief notes the successful program in Wyoming for decreasing ozone pollution in oil and gas producing areas, something the Uintah Basin has been struggling with. Addressing the 5% of winter particulate pollution caused by wood burning is still on the table, but it’s been politically problematic. The brief also notes the ongoing improvement in pollution from vehicles as a result of improved engine technology and better fuel. Building codes are noted as another area where improvement is possible.