Romney’s job approval from Utah voters drops significantly during impeachment

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Sen. Mitt Romney’s approval ratings have dropped 10 points overall, and most significantly among Republican voters in Utah, according to a new Utah Political Trends survey.

The News poll from Y2 Analytics finds 36% of Utah voters say they approve of Romney’s job performance, while 49% disapprove. In a previous survey from October of last year, 46% of Utahns approved of how he’s handling his job while 51% disapproved.

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Romney’s net approval has dropped in the ensuing months as well, from a net negative of -5 to -10 now.

Romney’s drop primarily comes among Republican voters. In October, 40% of “strong” Republicans said they approved of his job performance. Now, just 29% feel that way. His support among moderate Republicans dropped 18 points, 71% in October to 53% now. Even independent voters who lean toward the Republican party have softened their support for Romney from 49% in October to just 37% now.

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Pollster Kelly Patterson of Y2 Analytics says it’s likely the fall in Romney’s favorability is due to his stance on impeachment.

“Impeachment will play a part in the decline of the approval ratings,” he said. “It serves to remind Republicans in Utah that Senator Romney occupies a slightly different space on the ideological spectrum than they do.”

The survey was conducted from January 16-30, 2020. The Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump began on the first day the poll was in the field, but ended before Romney voted to allow witnesses in the trial. However, Romney had signalled he would likely vote to allow witnesses, saying he would like to hear from former national security adviser John Bolton during the trial.

On the other side, Sen. Mike Lee’s approval rating is holding fairly steady, as it has dipped just 3-points since October from 43% to 40%. His net approval has not changed, staying at -4.

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Lee’s support among strong Republicans dipped 9 points from our October poll, and 11 points among independents who lean Republican. 

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“It probably helped Lee maintain his ratings that he has been such a staunch supporter of President Trump,” says Patterson. “However, whatever factors have depressed his ratings (personal, policy, rhetorical) are still a part of the assessment that voters are making. And his support for President Trump may help to solidify his standing with a base of voters, but he has not overcome other reservations voters may have about him.”

The Utah Political Trends survey was conducted January 16-30, 2020 by Y2 Analytics among 2,296 likely Utah voters with a margin of error +/- 2.1% points. You can read more about the polling methodology here.

(Editor’s note: The October 2019 survey from Y2 Analytics gave respondents a “don’t know” option, while the new poll from January included a “neither approve nor disapprove” choice.)