More Utahns say President Trump is to blame for the government shutdown

Government Shutdown 01


Congressional Republicans are getting a bye from Utahns on who is most responsible for the current federal government shutdown, which is now the longest in U.S. history.

The new poll for by Dan Jones & Associates finds that only 2 percent of Utahns say Republican U.S. House and Senate members are most responsible for the government impasse, which has shut down parts of the federal government for more than three weeks.

President Donald Trump – who says he won’t help reopen the government until he gets more than $5 billion for a wall between U.S. and Mexico – is blamed by 36 percent of Utahns.

Congressional Democrats – the House is now in Democratic hands and, while in a minority, Senate Democrats won’t vote for the wall – are blamed for the shutdown by 32 percent of Utahns.

And 29 percent say all three of the above entities are to blame, while just 2 percent don’t know.

The new survey also shows the continuing dislike of Trump by Utah women:

  • Only 29 percent of men say Trump is mainly to blame for the government shutdown.
  • But 43 percent of women say government workers not getting paychecks mostly of Trump’s actions.


Randy Shumway, Founder of the Cicero Group and’s pollster, says even though Utahns are divided on where to place the blame, it’s not surprising to him that Trump is at the top of the list.

“In Utah, President Trump receives a sizable share of blame for the government shutdown,” said Shumway. “There could be several reasons for this sentiment. First, President Trump initially claimed that he would take responsibility for shutting down the government. Second, President Trump has regularly polled below 50% job approval in the state.”

Shumway says it’s important to understand that Utahns are not big supporters of President Trump.

“To put the President’s job approval rating by Utahns in context, Governor Gary Herbert consistently polls over 70% job approval.  With that said, a combined 60% of Utahns believe either Democrats are to blame or that both parties share responsibility.  Anecdotally, we were repeatedly told by those interviewed regarding their expectation for the two sides to work together to find a solution out of this historically long partial government shutdown.”

Younger Utahns mostly blame Trump for the shutdown, while older residents spread the blame around.

As expected, the shutdown is a highly charged partisan issue. And the results reflect that:

Among those who said they are Republicans, not one person blames congressional Republicans for the shutdown. Not one.

Rather, among Republicans, 51 percent said the blame mostly falls on congressional Democrats, only 12 percent say it is Trump’s fault, and 34 percent say all are equally to blame.

Democrats are the opposite, 82 percent blame Trump, 7 percent say it’s the Republicans in Congress, while 7 percent say all are to blame. Only 4 percent of Democrats blame their own party members in Congress.

Political independents, who don’t belong to either party, are split: 51 percent blame Trump, 33 percent say all are to blame, 13 percent put the shutdown on Democrats, while only 1 percent blame congressional Republicans.

Of course, you would expect those who told Jones they are “very conservative” politically to blame the Democrats. And they do – by a 67 percent majority. Only 6 percent say Trump is to blame.

But the numbers change quite a bit for those who said they are “somewhat conservative:”

Now 20 percent blame Trump, 39 percent say all are to blame, 36 percent blame Democrats in Congress (down from 67 percent among the “very conservative.)

Moderates and liberals, by great majorities, blame the president for the government being shut down.

Most Utahns are active Mormons. And among that group, 38 percent blame the Democrats, 35 percent say all are to blame, and 24 percent blame Trump.

UtahPolicy is watching how voters in newly-elected Rep. Ben McAdams, a Democrat, does in his 4th Congressional District.

And the new survey on the government shutdown shows McAdams has to walk a careful line as the only Democrat in the Utah federal delegation.

37 percent of 4th District folks blame Trump for the shutdown – as he continues to be unpopular in that Salt Lake County-based U.S. House seat.

30 percent said all are to blame.

But 28 percent of the 4th District says it is McAdams’ Democrat colleagues in Congress who are to blame.

Survey Methodology:

The poll was conducted by Dan Jones & Associates from January 3 – 15, 2019. 822 Registered voters were interviewed. Data collection was conducted by live call center agents (42 percent landline telephone, 32 percent cellphone), and a portion of the survey was conducted via email invite from an online panel (26 percent). The margin of error for the statewide questions is +/- 3.4 percent, with each congressional district having a margin of error of +/-6.9 percent. Data was weighted by age, political affiliation, religious preference, and congressional district.