GOP Elephant 05

The continuing battles within the Utah Republican Party’s leadership structure is hurting the party among its own members – even among its conservative wing, a new poll by UtahPolicy.com shows.

As you may know, archconservatives on the party’s 180-member Central Committee, and others, continue battling against SB54, the 2014 compromise law that allows candidates to take the voter-signature route to the primary ballot, or the traditional delegate/convention route, or both routes at the same time.

The court battles have basically bankrupted the state party, with the appeal now before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The new survey by Dan Jones & Associates asks Utahns about those GOP intra-party fights.

And DJA finds:

-- 64 percent of those who told the pollster that they are Republicans say the “internal battles concern me and I’m not as supportive (of the Utah Republican Party) as I once was.”

-- 18 percent say they are steadfast Republicans, “and will support the party under any circumstances.”

-- 13 percent of the Republicans said they now consider themselves political independents, “and I vote for the person, not the party.”

-- And 4 percent don’t know.

 

The anti-SB54 battle is lead by archconservatives on the state Central Committee, and so one would think that very conservative Utahns would stand with them on SB54 and the continuing fight over the law.

But DJA finds that is not the case:

-- 52 percent of those who self-identified to DJA that they are “very conservative” politically said they are not as supportive of the state Republican Party “as I once was.”

-- 23 percent of “very conservative” Utahns say they stand with the state GOP no matter what, and “support the party under any circumstances.”

-- But even 19 percent of the “very conservative” Utahns say they now consider themselves political independents, and vote for the person, not the Republican Party.

-- 52 percent of “somewhat conservative” Utahns say they don’t support the state GOP like they used to.

-- Only 7 percent of “somewhat conservatives” stand with the state Republican Party no matter what.

-- And 38 percent of the “somewhat conservative” Utahns say they consider themselves political independents and vote for the person, not the party.

That last number should really worry state Republican Party officials, for it shows that the internal fights over SB54 are pushing some conservatives out of full party support, and looking to be independents when it comes to voting in the state.

The poll shows, of course, that most Democrats don’t care what is happening inside the Utah Republican Party, and by far most folks who said they are political independents don’t care, either, how the Republicans are infighting.

Most “very active” members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are Republicans.

The new survey shows that many active Mormons are less Republican today because of the party infighting:

-- 48 percent of “very active” Mormons said they are less supportive of the Republican Party than they used to be, and are concerned about the party infighting.

-- Only 12 percent of “very active” Mormons said they support the Utah Republican Party no matter what.

-- And 33 percent of “very active” Mormons said they now consider themselves political independents, and vote for the person, not the party.

All of this, of course, is good news for Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben McAdams, who in November defeated former GOP Rep. Mia Love in the 4thU.S. House District.

McAdams is a moderate, Mormon Democrat. And any troubles inside the Utah Republican Party – which harms fundraising and turns GOP voters away from the party apparatus -- will help him in re-election next year.

DJA finds that in the 4th District:

-- Only 10 percent of voters said they will stand with the Utah Republican Party no matter what, “will support the party under any circumstances.”

-- 37 percent said they are Republicans, but that the internal battles make them less supportive “than I once was” of the party.

-- 13 percent said they are Democrats and don’t care what the Republicans do.

-- 40 percent said they consider themselves political independents, and vote for the person, not the party.

-- And 2 percent of 4th District voters don’t know.

So, those numbers indicate that McAdams gets 13 percent of his Democrats, likely a bunch of the 40 percent of independents, and even some of the 37 percent of Republicans who are sick of the GOP infighting over SB54 and such.

Not good news for any Republicans who plan on challenging McAdams next year – assuming the Utah GOP doesn’t heal itself over the next few months.

DJA polled 882 voters from Jan. 3-15. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percent statewide. In the 4th District, 203 voters were polled, the margin of error being plus or minus 6.9 percent.