Utah is a very Republican and Mormon state. Historically, if you are a GOP/Mormon candidate in a general election year, you’re going to do OK.
But this is not a normal election year. GOP President Donald Trump is not well-liked here, and the coronavirus pandemic seems to be growing in the state.
A recent poll for UtahPolicy.com and KUTV 2News by Y2 Analytics finds there is some real dissatisfaction among significant segments of both the Republican and “very active” LDS populations.
And that could lead to some strange election results -- even if the Republican/Mormon hold on Utah isn’t greatly upset come November.
Sixty-six percent of all Utahns say the United States as a whole is going in the wrong direction.
The country is led by Republican Trump, with a GOP majority in the U.S. Senate and a Democratic majority in the U.S. House.
Only 34 percent say the country is going in the right direction.
Utahns have traditionally been pretty happy with how our state is going. And Y2 finds that 59 percent believe the state is going in the right direction, 41 percent disagree -- we’re heading the wrong way.
Utah’s “strong” Republicans are on board with both governments:
70 percent say the USA is going the right way, 75 percent say Utah is on the right track.
But things turn around when others’ opinions are measured.
56 percent of “very active” members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints say the nation is going in the wrong direction (44 percent say the right way).
And while 74 percent of faithful Mormons say Utah is going in the right direction, 26 percent disagree -- the state is going in the wrong direction.
With a fourth of “strong” Mormons and “strong” Republicans saying Utah is going in the wrong direction -- that’s not good news for GOP candidates running in close contests with Democrats this year.
Some swing legislative and county races could be turned on Mormon/GOP dissidents going over to the other side.
And Y2 finds that 85 percent of political independents say the U.S. is going in the wrong direction; 64 percent say Utah is going the wrong way.
Many local races turn on votes by independent Utahns, those that don’t belong to any political party.
In fact, independents may just hold the keys in Salt Lake County, where independents are crucial for GOP victories.
Democrats, of course, have little doubts: The U.S. is going in the wrong direction 93-7 percent, while Utah is going in the wrong direction, 71-29 percent.
If voters are generally satisfied with how their lives are going, incumbents tend to do well. Unhappy voters; watch out.
In Utah’s 4th Congressional, now held by the state’s lone Democrat in the U.S. House, Rep. Ben McAdams, voters are quite unhappy with the national government -- 65 percent say the U.S. is going in the wrong direction, only 35 percent say going the right way.
However, 60 percent say Utah itself is going in the right direction, 40 percent say the wrong way.
Will 4th District voters reward McAdams for taking Utah’s good-government ways to D.C.?
Or will he be punished for being part of a federal government/Democratic House that most of his district voters see as going the wrong way?
The survey was conducted by Y2 Analytics from May 9-15, 2020 among 1,099 likely Utah voters with a margin of error of 3 percentage points.