Pres. Donald Trump leads his Democratic opponent, former Vice Pres. Joe Biden, in Utah by 10 percentage points, and while Trump will certainly take the state’s six Electoral College votes, he remains relatively unpopular in the state, a new Y2 Analytics poll finds.
Just one example: 62 percent of likely Utah voters say Trump is a dishonest man -- nearly two-thirds of all voters.
The poll was not taken for UtahPolicy.com, although Y2 has been the political newsletter’s polling firm the past few years.
It was conducted independently and provided to media outlets before Wednesday’s vice-presidential debate on the University of Utah campus.
Some of the poll’s highlights:
-- Trump leads Biden, 50-40 percent among likely voters, with 10 percent picking some other presidential candidate and only 1 percent undecided.
-- In the Utah governor’s race, GOP Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox leads Democrat Chris Peterson 57-29 percent with 14 percent saying they would vote for someone else and less than 1 percent undecided.
Scott Riding of Y2 says Trump’s 50 percent showing is underperforming for a GOP presidential candidate in Utah -- which saw 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney (now a U.S. senator from Utah) getting more than 75 percent of the Utah vote.
One of the demographics where Trump is not doing well here is among “very active” LDS voters -- who still like Trump overall, but not by the margins of previous GOP presidential candidates.
For example, 56 percent of “very active” LDS voters believe Trump is a dishonest man, and 58 percent say he has no religious values.
And only 59 percent of “very active” LDS voters currently support Trump.
“In 2004, 2008 and 2012 an average of 88 percent of very active Latter-day Saint voters in Utah supported the Republican nominee, leaving Trump’s support lagging nearly 30 percentage points below the norm,” said Riding.
The poll was conducted Sept. 26-Oct.4 of 1,214 likely Utah voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.
Thus, most of those polled responded before this past weekend’s LDS General Conference, where LDS leaders talked about accepting the Nov. 3 election as valid, decried violent protests over political issues, and spoke on the civility needed in a democracy.
Trump has said that he may not accept the November vote as valid -- the first time a leading party presidential nominee has said so.
The new poll finds that among all likely Utah voters, 48 percent said Trump is encouraging election interference, while 52 percent say he is not.
Y2 points out that Trump’s relatively poor showing in Utah is NOT reflective of a general shift in partisanship among voters here, as Y2 finds Cox is well ahead of his Democratic opponent, Peterson, in the governor’s race, and those numbers reflect traditional partisan preferences in major races. Thus, Utahn’s lower support of Trump is outside of partisan make-up -- even though he will do well enough to win Nov. 3 in Utah, which overall is a very red state.
In other questions in the new poll:
-- Trump has a job approval rating of 52-48 percent, or 52 percent of likely Utah voters “strongly” or “somewhat” approve of the job the president is doing, while 48 percent “somewhat” or “strongly” disapprove of him.
-- Since Biden is not in office, you can’t really poll on his job performance. But Y2 finds that 40 percent of likely Utah voters “strongly” or “somewhat” have a favorable opinion of Biden. While 45 percent have an unfavorable opinion of him and 1 percent have no impression of him.
-- On the same question, 52 percent have a favorable opinion of Trump, while 47 percent have an unfavorable opinion.
-- Romney has a 45 percent favorable rating, with a 40 percent unfavorable rating. Romney has often criticized Trump and was the only GOP senator to vote to convict the president on one count this past year after the House impeached him.
-- Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, 48 percent favorable rating with a 40 percent unfavorable, 12 percent “unaware” of him.
-- Cox has a 54 percent favorable rating with a 34 percent unfavorable, 10 percent “unaware” of him.
-- GOP Gov. Gary Herbert, who is retiring this year, has a 60 percent favorable rating with a 37 percent unfavorable, and 2 percent “unaware” of the governor.
-- Peterson, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee this year, has a 23 percent favorable rating, 12 percent unfavorable, and 63 percent of voters don’t know who he is.
Finally, considering the vice-presidential debate coming Wednesday, Y2 finds that among likely Utah voters, Vice President Mike Pence has a 52 percent favorable rating with 45 percent unfavorable and only 2 percent “unaware.”
While U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, Biden’s VP pick, has a 38 favorable rating with a 58 percent unfavorable and 6 percent “unaware.”
GOP leaders in the U.S. Senate plan to go ahead and vote on a replacement to Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died several weeks ago.
Democratic leaders strongly oppose such a vote, saying the Senate should wait until after the election and let the newly-picked president and Senate decide on who should fill the open seat.
Y2 finds that among likely Utah voters, 57 percent say fill the open court seat now, 43 percent say wait until the new president and Senate take office in January.
While Trump may lead Biden in Utah, it’s clear from some of the responses in the new poll that many voters here are holding their noses in voting for the president.
For example, among all likely voters, 62 percent of Utahns say Trump is a dishonest man, 38 percent say he is honest; 63 percent say he has no religious values, 37 percent say he does; 51 percent say he cares only for himself, while 49 percent say he cares about America.
And Utahns are split over whether he is a “strong leader,” half saying he is, half saying he is a “weak leader.”