Utah Ready for Hatch to Move On; More Progressive Than You Might Think

| Tom Jensen

-Utah voters are ready for Orrin Hatch to move on. They’re closely divided in feelings about his job performance, with 41% approving of him to 43% who disapprove. But when it comes to the question of whether he should run for another term in 2018, just 19% say Hatch should seek reelection to 71% who think he should retire. There’s bipartisan consensus when it comes to Hatch’s future with Republicans (62/27), independents (80/10), and Democrats (84/9) all thinking that he should call it quits when this term is up.

-Utah might be one of the most conservative states in the country, but we still find that voters there side with Democrats on a variety of key issues:

*81% of voters in the state support background checks on all gun purchases, to only 13% who oppose them. That includes support from 90% of Democrats, 79% of independents, and 78% of Republicans.

*78% of voters in the state support barring those on the Terror Watch List from buying guns, to only 12% who are opposed to that. There’s support from 84% of Democrats, 78% of Republicans, and 73% of independents for closing the terror gap.

*65% of voters in the state think the Senate should move forward with hearings on Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court, to only 16% who are opposed to them. 87% of Democrats, 67% of independents, and 57% of Republicans support hearings for Garland.

*65% of voters in the state think there should be an independent commission for redistricting, to only 15% who think legislators should draw their own district lines. 78% of independents, 73% of Democrats, and 55% of Republicans support independent redistricting.

*64% of voters in the state support legalizing medical marijuana, to only 24% opposed to it. That includes support from 86% of Democrats, 71% of independents, and 53% of Republicans.

*61% of voters in the state support increasing the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour, including 86% of Democrats, 61% of independents, and 52% of Republicans. 

*52% of voters in the state support expanding Medicaid, to only 27% opposed to it. Support from Democrats (90/5) and independents (56/30) for Medicaid Expansion is pretty overwhelming and even Republicans (37/34) narrowly support it.

-We checked in on how Utah voters feel about some of the state’s major political figures, past and future. Mitt Romney (63/27 favorability) and Jon Huntsman (62/21) are pretty equally overwhelmingly popular. One thing that’s interesting is Romney (75/16) is a good deal more popular than Huntsman (59/23) with Republicans but Huntsman is more popular with both independents (62/19 compared to 54/35 for Romney) and Democrats (67/17 to 43/43 for Romney.)

We also looked at how voters in the state feel about Jason Chaffetz and Mia Love, both frequently mentioned as possible future candidates for higher office. Their numbers are quite similar with Chaffetz having a 42/30 favorability rating and Love coming in at 42/34. They’re in pretty identical position just with Republicans as well- 58/13 for Chaffetz and 57/19 for Love.

-Utah wins out over BYU when it comes to college sports loyalties in the state, 32/26. Utah State is third at 16%, followed by Weber State at 4%, Southern Utah at 3%, and Utah Valley at 2%. There are massive political and religious divides on college loyalty. Among Democrats Utah leads with 54% to 15% for Utah State, with BYU only tied for third with Utah Valley at 5%. But among Republicans BYU wins out with 40% to 21% for Utah, and 15% for Utah State. The political divide mirrors the religious split- among Mormons, BYU leads with 40% to 20% for Utah and 17% for Utah State. But among non-Mormons Utah romps with 55% to 14% for Utah State with BYU registering at only 1%.

There’s a lot more interest in college than pro sports in Utah. When it comes to MLB loyalties the Rockies leads with 14% to 11% each for the Yankees and Cubs, 8% for the Angels, and 7% each for the Dodgers and Giants. 35% say that they have another or no team. There’s more clarity when it comes to NFL loyalties- the Broncos win out with 27% to 12% for the 49ers, followed by the Cowboys at 9%, and Packers at 6%. Again 34% say that they have another or no team.

We also checked in on the favorabilities of some of the Olympians who drew the most attention in Rio. Michael Phelps- with a 77/5 favorability- might be one of the most popular people in America right now. Gabby Douglas isn’t too far behind at 61/8. Meanwhile Ryan Lochte makes the Presidential candidates look popular in comparison- only 18% of voters have a favorable opinion of him to 48% with a negative one.

-Finally we looked at opinions on coffee and alcohol in the state. Coffee has a 37/44 favorability rating- 17/63 with Mormons and 78/6 with non-Mormons. It’s a similar story with alcohol- it has a 28/61 favorability rating overall but it’s 10/79 with Mormons and 63/25 with non-Mormons.

Full results here

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