Here is a moral and political dilemma for you: When do you vote for a candidate even if that person has a huge character flaw you really dislike?
A new Y2 Analytics poll, when broken out along these lines, gives us some insight into the thinking of large numbers of Utah voters.
Religion plays a big part of Utah life. Just under two-thirds of all Utahns are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And large numbers of Utah non-Mormons also see themselves as religious in some manner. In fact, only 25 percent of Utahns told Y2 that they are not religious in any form or are atheists.
One would think, accordingly, if you are religious yourself, that if you plan to vote for Pres. Donald Trump on Nov. 3 that you would also see Trump as a religious man — as many of his supporters nationally and in Utah believe that Trump is such a person.
And, indeed, Y2 finds that 71 percent of those who told Y2 they plan to vote for the president also believe that Trump holds religious values.
That makes sense.
But that leads us to this number: 29 percent of “very active” LDS Utahns who support Trump believe at the same time that he does NOT hold religious values.
In other words, you are a good faith-following Latter Day Saint and you support Trump, but at the same time you don’t believe he holds any religious values.
One could look at that as weighing political, or partisan, values more than your religious values — for you are voting for a man you don’t believe is religious, even though you are.
Along the same line of analysis, Y2 finds that 78 percent of Trump supporters believe Trump is an honest man.
That, again, makes sense — you are supporting a man for both his political policies and his honesty; his goodness, if you will.
But on the other side, 22 percent of Trump supporters in Utah say they will vote for him, but they believe he is a dishonest man.
Really? More than a fifth of Trump supporters in Utah are voting for a dishonest man, by their own definition?
Now, remember, the above folks told Y2 that they are voting for the president. Yet at the same time a goodly percent (29 percent) of “very active” LDS Trump supporters say that he isn’t religious, and a goodly percent (22 percent) of his supporters say he is dishonest.
Such voter dilemmas are not new to American or Utah politics.
For example, former Democratic President Bill Clinton’s job approval ratings nationally did take a hit after his affair with a White House intern became public and he was impeached by a Republican U.S. House. Yet he still remained a rather popular president. So, many Americans still supported him after he lied under oath about the affair, a clear disconnect.
And even at their lowest, 55 percent of Americans after the affair still approved of the job Clinton was doing as president, an approval rating Trump has barely reached even in his best times as president.
However, just after President Richard Nixon resigned his office in 1974, polling found that only 24 percent of Americans approved of the job he was doing — and this after it became clear he had obstructed justice in the cover-up of the Watergate scandal.
So, by far most Americans had turned on Nixon at that point.
Clinton never faced voters after his affair — it came in his second term and he couldn’t run again. He served out his term after the GOP-controlled Senate acquitted him of various impeachment charges in doings related to the affair.
And Nixon never faced voters after Watergate. That, too, came in his second term and he resigned to retire to private life.
Trump, of course, is seeking a second term and Utahns will vote on him within weeks. It’s likely he will take the state. The Y2 poll also finds that he leads Democrat Joe Biden by 10 percentage points in Utah, 50-40 percent, and Utah hasn’t voted for a Democrat for president since 1964.
Still, as the new poll shows, many Trump voters in Utah will stick with him even though they believe Trump falls short on some important issues for them — religious values and honesty.