Poll: Utahns Have a Great Deal of Confidence in Churches and the Military

Salt Lake TempleIn Utah, the saying “God and Country” still means something, a new UtahPolicy poll finds.

Utahns have high confidence in two very structured, authoritarian systems – the military and churches – finds a survey by Dan Jones & Associates.

The new Jones survey shows that on a scale of 1-5, with 1 and 2 being no or little confidence, 3 being neutral, and 4 and 5 being some or very high confidence, that three-fourths of Utahns have high confidence in the U.S. military and more than 80 percent have high confidence in churches.

Yet there are several very interesting demographic breakouts in the new survey — like Democrats question both institutions more than do Republicans, and those with no religion at all are skeptical of the military more than church-trusting folks – maybe a kind of “God and Country” breakdown.

Both institutions, of course, are highly structured, and thus Jones finds Utahns have confidence in systems in which they believe they can trust, and have little leeway in organizational power flows and the chain of command.

Most Utahns are members of the LDS Church, known for its patriarchal and top-down organization, which would add to Utahns’ overall perceptions of churches and the military.

The basic poll numbers:

  • 73 percent of Utahns have high confidence in the U.S. military.
  • Only 9 percent don’t trust the military.
  • And 19 percent are neutral.

There is even more trust by Utahns in churches:

  • 86 percent of Utahns trust churches, no matter what the religion’s principles.
  • 15 percent don’t trust churches.
  • And 16 percent are neutral on religious organizations.

The internal numbers show some interesting side stories:

  • 63 percent of Democrats have high confidence in our military, with 6 percent saying they have no confidence in it.
  • But 77 percent of Republicans trust our military, only 6 percent don’t.

There is a connection between Utah’s dominant religion and men and women in uniform:

  • 71 percent of those who say they are “very active” in the Mormon Church trust the military.
  • While only 54 percent of those who said they have no religion also trust the military.

The general trust in religion also shows some real disagreements:

  • 83 percent of Utah Republicans trust churches, only 4 percent don’t.
  • But only 36 percent of Democrats trust churches, 30 percent don’t trust churches and 33 percent are neutral on churches.
  • Political independents trust/don’t trust churches, 53-23 percent, with 21 percent saying they are neutral on churches confidence level.

Over the last decade or so, members of the U.S. Catholic church have had their faith tested as hundreds of former and current priests have been unveiled as child molesters – a terrible violation of the priest/member bond.

Jones finds among Utah Catholics that violation reflected:

  • Only 54 percent of Catholics in the Beehive State trust churches, 38 percent said they are neutral on churches, and 4 percent said they don’t trust churches.
  • 88 percent of “very active” Mormons trust churches, 0 percent were neutral, and 9 percent didn’t trust churches, which could include non-LDS faiths.

It makes sense that folks who used to be members of the LDS faith, but now reject those teachings, wouldn’t trust churches much.

And Jones finds that only 38 percent of “inactive” Mormons trust churches, 38 percent said they are neutral on churches, and 24 percent have no trust in churches, whether their old faith or others’.

Finally, only 12 percent of those who said they have no religious convictions still trust churches, 29 percent are neutral, and 55 percent of those who have no religion have any trust in organized religions.

Jones polled 605 Utahns from Sept. 1-9. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.98 percent.