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A slim majority of Utahns say the state is headed in the right direction, but only a third feel the same way as the country as a whole.

The latest Utah Political Trends survey from UtahPolicy.com and Y2 Analytics asked respondents whether they felt things in the country were headed in the right or wrong direction generally. The same question was asked about Utah specifically. 

We found 52% said Utah was headed in the right direction, while just 34% felt that way about the nation as a whole.

Utah’s economy is roaring right now. The state’s unemployment rate dropped to the lowest level in more than a decade last month, and the state’s GDP growth was second in the U.S. in 2018 at 4.3%. Those economic good times are likely a major factor behind Utah’s strong rating according to Kelly Patterson with Y2 Analytics.

“Utah’s rating reflects the performance of Utah’s economy and government. Utah’s economic performance has been better than the nation’s economic performance, although both are strong,” says Patterson.

He also believes that the lack of partisan gridlock on the state level contributes to the positive perception from Utahns about their state.

“Utah government does not have the same partisan rancor and discord. When people look at national politics, they see the conflict rather than the successes . People do not enjoy political conflict. And the signature achievement of government these days, at least in the political institutions, seems to be constant conflict,” said Patterson.

The 34% of Utahns who say the nation is headed in the right direction is significantly lower, but tracks well with a recent Gallup survey showing the satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S. is at a 12-year high at 38%.

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There is a sharp partisan and ideological divide over the general direction of the state and nation. Republicans and conservatives tend to think conditions are on the right track, while Democrats and liberals say they’re not. Independents and moderates are more likely to think the state is on the right path than the country.

  • Nearly ¾ of “strong” Republicans say the state is on the right path as do 71% of moderate Republicans and 68% of independents who tend to lean Republican. 
  • Only a quarter of “strong” Democrats feel the state is on the right track. Just over ⅓ of moderate Democrats and Democrats who lean toward the Democratic party feel the state is headed in the right direction.
  • More than ⅔ of sold and moderate conservatives believe Utah is headed in the right direction, while a third or less of their liberal counterparts feel the same.

The Utah Political Trends Panel was conducted among a random sample of 2,608 registered Utah voters using an online survey. The results were weighted to reflect Utah’s demographic makeup. The survey has a margin of error +/- 2.1%. You can read more about the survey’s methodology here.