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Utah voters are split over which political party can best handle race relations in the U.S., a recent UtahPolicy.com/KUTV 2 News poll shows.

Overall, Y2 Analytics finds that 35 percent of Utah voters say the Democratic Party is best at national race relations, 34 percent say it is the Republican Party, 24 percent say there is no difference between the two parties when it comes to better race relations, while 7 percent don’t know.

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Utah is, of course, a very Republican state, with Republicans outnumbering Democrats by more than 2-to-1. Independents make up about 40 percent of voters, Y2’s polling shows.

So, one can see how hard-core Utah Republicans would say they do a better job of race relations -- and 72 percent of “strong” Utah Republicans do say their party does a better job in race relations nationally.

But, finds Y2, 25 percent of even “strong” Republicans say Democrats do a better job of race relations, or both parties are about the same nationally.

Having a fourth of your strong party members saying your party DOES NOT do the best job in race relations is a telling statistic.

Eighty-seven percent of Utah Democrats say their party is best on national race relations, while 43 percent of independents say both parties are about the same, 33 percent of independents say Democrats are better and 17 percent say Republicans are better on national race relations.

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Race relations are at a forefront of American politics these days after the police-killing death of George Floyd, a Black man, and weeks of Black Lives Matter protests across the nation, including in Salt Lake City.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a difficult history of race relations, with the church denying male priesthood status to Black men before 1978.

Among those who told Y2 they are “very active” in their LDS faith, 28 percent said Democrats are better at national race relations, 35 percent said Republicans, 28 percent said both parties are about the same, and 9 percent didn’t know.

Those who said they have no religion, 45 percent said Democrats are better at race relations, 25 percent said Republicans, 24 percent said about the same, while 6 percent didn’t know.

Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Ben McAdams, who is white, is expected to have a tough race this year against the GOP 4th District nominee Burgess Owens, an African-American.

Y2 finds that among 4th District voters, 37 percent said Democrats have better race relations, 32 percent said Republicans, 25 percent said the parties are about the same, and 6 percent didn’t know.

Utah is overwhelmingly a white state. But Salt Lake County does have a growing percent of minorities, especially Hispanics/Latinos. In the county, 42 percent Democrats have better race relations, 28 percent said Republicans, 23 percent said both parties were about the same, while 7 percent didn’t know.

The poll was taken, however, before Democratic Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill ruled that city police officers did nothing legally wrong when they shot and killed a Hispanic man who was running away from them earlier this year, causing some violent protesting in the city.

The survey was conducted June 9-17, 2020, among 1,188 respondents with a 5 percent plus or minus margin of error.