Study: Utahns diverge in views of coronavirus strategy

Utah Foundation has released the fifth in a series of Utah Priorities Project briefs looking at Utah voters’ top concerns. Public health / COVID-19 pandemic ranked fifth in the summer survey, and drove the major concerns around the top four priorities.  Public health / COVID-19 pandemic was the top issue for more than 25% of respondents – the single most likely top issue. It was a top-five issue across almost all demographic groups.
However, there were interesting variations as to the level of concern. For instance, Public health / COVID-19 pandemic was the No. 1 issue for men, but not for women. Members of the Silent Generation were the most concerned of any generational group about public health / COVID-19 pandemic. This is unsurprising given that they are 75 and over, and the coronavirus poses a particular danger to their demographic.

The Utah Priorities Project found that 56% of voters thought that the state was too quick in reopening its economy, while 44% thought it has been too cautious in reopening. The differences by ideology are stark. More than 9 in 10 liberals thought the state was too quick to reopen, while most conservatives thought the opposite. Moderates, however, lean much closer to the liberal point of view; 71% thought the state was too quick. Differences also emerged as to mask-wearing.

“Utahns are united in their concern about the coronavirus,” Utah Foundation President Peter Reichard said. “But the ideological differences on otherwise dry matters of public health strategy suggest politicization is oozing into yet another corner of American life.”

Special thanks to the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies and Y2 Analytics for supporting the Utah Priorities Project. The full brief is available at