There’s a very good reason that Republicans hold nearly every major elected office in Utah. Utahns in general, and independent voters in particular, like the Republican Party better than Utah Democrats.
A new UtahPolicy.com survey finds that 59% of Utahns say they have a favorable view of the Utah Republican Party, while just 43% have a similarly positive view of the Utah Democratic Party.
That 16-point gap in favorability most likely explains why Republicans hold all of the statewide constitutional offices, all six seats in Congress and a supermajority in both houses of the Utah Legislature. It’s a big reason Democrats have lost 28 statewide elections in a row.
Simply put, unless there’s a compelling reason for them to vote for a Democratic candidate, most Utahns naturally lean to the right politically.
There are nearly 700,000 registered Republicans in Utah and only 160,000 Democrats. However, there are 588,000 unaffiliated voters. That means Democrats have to appeal to independent voters, and some Republicans to win big political races.
Democrats are not doing a fairly good job attracting independent voters to their camp.
55% of independents have a positive view of the Democratic party, while just 39% say their opinion of the GOP is positive. Again, a 16-point gap, but this one is for the Democrats.
Millennials slightly prefer Republicans over Democrats. 48% of voters 18-24 view the Republican Party positively while 42% say they have a positive impression of the Democratic party. Every other age group views the Republican Party more favorably than Democrats.
It’s surprising to see Republicans fare much better than Democrats given the number of negative stories surrounding the party. There’s the John Swallow scandal, the fight over Medicaid expansion, the battle over SB54 and expanding primary ballot access for candidates and all of the lawsuits that come with it.
The survey was conducted by Dan Jones & Associates from May 2-10, 2016 among 588 registered voters with a margin of error +/- 4.04%.