Sen. Todd Weiler is getting a lot of national attention for his resolution declaring pornography a public health crisis in Utah. Turns out, a lot of Utahns agree with him.
A new UtahPolicy.com survey finds 73% of Utahns think pornography is a public health crisis. That number includes 51% who "definitely" believe it's a crisis.
Weiler's resolution has been covered (and mocked) by media outlets across the country.
Weiler says he's taken a lot of scorn for his proposal, but he's pleasantly surprised by the high level of support shown in the survey.
"We didn't ban tobacco when research showed it was addictive and harmful," he says. "We just took steps to protect children from it, and that's all I'm trying to do here."
A 2009 study pegged Utah as the #1 consumer of internet pornography, with 5.47 people per 1000 broadband subscribers who pay for a subscription to pornography sites. That survey noted "Subscriptions are slightly more prevalent in states that have enacted conservative legislation on sexuality...Subscriptions are also more prevalent in states where surveys indicate conservative positions on religion, gender roles and sexuality."
Weiler says those stats give him pause.
"The science is trending on what it does to the developing adolescent brain, and that's pretty conclusive. All I'm saying is let's protect our children from it."
Both Republicans and Utahns who are independent politically agree with Weiler's resolution, while Democrats are on the opposite side.
- A whopping 88% of Republicans say pornography is a public health crisis
- 69% of political independents want to declare pornography a public health crisis.
- 51% of Democrats disagree with the intent of Weiler's bill while 46% say porn should be deemed a health crisis.
Not surprisingly, there is strong religious support for Weiler's resolution.
- 92% of "very active" Mormons agree with the bill
- 87% of "somewhat active" LDS Church members think pornography is a public health crisis
- Just 51% of "not active" Mormons think porn is a health crisis.
72% of Catholics and 60% of protestants also agree that pornography represents a health crisis. However, 62% of those who report no religion disagree.
The survey was conducted February 10-15, 2016 among 625 adult Utahns. Respondents were contacted through live telephone calls (both landline and cell phones) and online means. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.92%.