Poll: Utahns Think Their Drinking Water is Safe; Most Support Federal Testing

Drinking WaterCongratulations, Utah water district managers.

A huge, huge number (as Donald Trump would say) of Utahns believe their drinking water is safe, a new UtahPolicy poll shows.

Clearly, the concerns over the Flint, Mich., water disaster are not resonating in Utah, finds pollster Dan Jones & Associates.

However, some political conservatives still don’t want the U.S. government involved in the testing of public water district supplies, Jones finds.

Yet just another indication that many Utah conservatives don’t like and don’t trust federal bureaucrats.

Water was a big issue in the just-completed Utah legislative session – but it was all about money, and how to raise it to build multi-billion water development projects, not how to keep it safe for drinking.

That’s because Utahns see no problems in how the 31 local water districts are doing their jobs, and, for the most part, are keeping water clean and pure.

 

Yes, there have been occasions when a water district has had to issue a boil alert, often because some chemical or bacteria has gotten into the water supply.

But those problems are usually solved within a few days as citizens flush their pipes, and the contaminant is removed.

Still, a water safety watchdog group, the state’s Division of Water Quality, and the state Department of Health, keep track of these occasional problems.

The federal government need not be involved, a number of Utahns tell Jones.

He finds:

  • 93 percent of all Utahns believe their tap water is safe to drink, only 6 percent don’t think so, and 2 percent don’t know.
  • Political party doesn’t vary much on this question – Republicans say tap water is safe, 95-5 percent; Democrats, 94-5 percent; and political independents, 92-5 percent.

Even the “very conservative” and Tea Party believers aren’t seeing black helicopters over the water supply.

  • Those who say they are “very conservative” politically believe the water is safe, 92-6 percent.
  • Tea Party followers believe it safe, 92-4 percent.

But you do see differences when Jones asked if the federal government should “analyze” Utah water for safety.

  • 66 percent of Utahns want federal oversight on water safety, 30 percent say no and 4 percent don’t know.
  • Only 55 percent of Republicans favor federal water testing.
  • 92 percent of Democrats favor federal water safety testing.
  • And only 74 percent of political independents want it.

With the feds, now you see some real political philosophy differences:

  • Among those who said they are “very conservative,” only 37 percent want the federal government to test our local water, 62 percent oppose and 2 percent don’t know.
  • Tea Party followers are about the same, they oppose federal water testing, 33-64 percent.

Jones polled 625 Utahns from Feb. 10-15, the poll has a margin of effort of plus or minus 3.92 percent.