Category: Today At Utah Policy

2020 Census

Just over half of all Utahns say the U.S. Census next year should include a question on whether you are a citizen or not, a new Analytics poll finds.

As you might expect, the respondents’ opinions are highly partisan – Republicans believe a citizenship question is a good idea, while Democrats think it is a bad idea.

Independents say it is a good idea, 53-33 percent, with 14 percent saying they don’t know enough about the issue to have an opinion.

But here is something interesting: Overall, Christians/Mormons say it is a good idea, but non-Christians and those who don’t have any religion say it is a bad idea to ask about citizenship on the U.S. Census.

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As you probably know, GOP President Donald Trump’s administration really wants the question on the 2020 Census.

But a citizenship question has not been asked on the Census for years.

The U.S. Constitution says all people living in the U.S. will be counted every 10 years. It is silent on whether those folks need to be citizens or not, and so for years, no citizenship question has been asked.

Critics of Trump’s idea – put on hold by several federal court rulings – claim any number of non-citizens, perhaps in the country illegally, will refuse to participate in the Census.

And since any number of federal programs/financial aid to states are determined by Census numbers, including the citizenship question will undercount people in some states, especially some states, like Texas and California, that may have a large number of non-citizen residents.

So those states will be short-changed and harmed financially.

Democrats and Trump-haters say this is just another attempt by Trump to drive down minority voting and help him in the 2020 election.

But advocates of the president’s position say it is only fair and right that the Census be used to identify citizens and non-citizens, and since non-citizens can’t vote anyway it won’t impact voting.

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Y2 finds:

-- 51 percent want the citizenship question in the Census, 39 percent don’t, and 10 percent don’t know.

-- Younger Utahns think it is a bad idea, those 18-24 against it, 66-23 percent; those 25-34 against it, 48-38 percent.

Most older Utahns want the question included.

-- Strong Republicans want the question in, 90-4 percent.

-- Strong conservatives want it in, 92-3 percent.

-- Strong Democrats think it is a bad idea, 90-6 percent, while strong liberals want it out, 93-3 percent.

And here is an odd breakout for you – religion.

-- A majority of those who said they are “very active” members of the LDS faith and those who said they are Christians, but not Mormons, want the question in the Census.

-- But those who told Y2 that they are religious, but are non-Christians (like Muslims and Jews), are against putting the question on the Census.

-- And those who said they have no religion at all say keep the citizen question out of the Census, 53-39 percent.

Kelly Patterson’s Y2 says the breakout by religion and age is likely the result of LDS faithful and non-Mormon Christians being conservative, while younger voters tend to be more progressive, or liberal:

“The relationships are most likely the product of being more Republican and conservative,” said Patterson.

“All of the variables below correlate with being Republican and conservative. Younger people, females, and less religious individuals all tend to be less conservative.

“If you were to control for all of the variables simultaneously, you would see some of the differences, such as the differences based on religion, shrink in size,” he added.

The Utah Political Trends Survey was conducted by Y2 Analytics among 1,017 registered Utah voters from July 31-August 6, 2019. More information about the polling methodology is available here. You can read more about how our panelists are selected here.