Trump’s Hold on the GOP in Utah is Strong, but Romney Isn’t Far Behind
PHOENIX (January 26th, 2023)- Looking ahead to what is sure to be an interesting Presidential Primary election season, O.H. Predictive Insights’ (OHPI) first Utah Public Opinion Pulse (UTPOP) survey of 2023 checked in with dependably-red Utah regarding Utah Republicans’ thoughts and opinions on the future of the GOP. According to the survey, Utah Republicans have yet to reach a consensus on a vision for the Republican Party.
This UTPOP was conducted December 27th, 2022 – January 4th, 2023. This UTPOP surveyed 600 Utah registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.0%. Among the 600 surveyed, 302 were registered Republicans, yielding a +/-5.64% MoE with this group.
The survey asked Utah GOP voters whether they believe there is room in today’s Republican Party for former President Donald Trump or U.S. Senator from Utah Mitt Romney. According to the UTPOP, half (52%) of Utah Republicans say there is room in today’s Republican Party for Donald Trump while only 4 in 10 say the same for Mitt Romney.
“We were curious to see where opinions split within Utah’s GOP when looking at two very different ends of the Republican spectrum: Trump and Romney,” said Mike Noble, OHPI Chief of Research. “Even though the state is pretty much as red as they come, the make-up of its Republican electorate is not so cut-and-dry.”
Room for Trump in the GOP
The poll found that 52% of Utah’s Republicans believe there is room in today’s Republican Party for Trump while more than one-third do not, leaving 11% unsure. A deeper look into the question, however, reveals some interesting differences between those seeing room in the party for the former president and those who don’t.
Trump is strongest among those Republicans who do not have confidence in the 2022 Utah elections versus those who do (68% vs. 38%) when it comes to seeing room for him in today’s GOP. Following suit, Trump performs significantly better among Republicans identifying as conservative (60%) than with those identifying as either moderate or liberal (39%). Additionally, those without a college education (56%) are 10 points more likely to believe the GOP has room for Trump than college-educated Republicans.
“In Utah’s Republican electorate, there’s more room for Trump these days than Romney; but considering how different these two people and their platforms are, it’s interesting to look into the polarization of the meaningful shares of voters who are throwing their support behind each,” said Mike Noble.
Less Room for Romney in the GOP
Mitt Romney, who was the party’s presidential nominee in 2012, has a plurality (48%) of Republicans in Utah who say there is no room for him in today’s GOP while 40% believe there is, and 13% are undecided. Not surprisingly, Romney’s strength is among Trump’s weaker demographics. Romney performs best with Republicans who identify as liberal or moderate (55%) than those identifying as conservative (31%). Although a softer contrast than Trump, Romney does better with those who have confidence in Utah’s 2022 elections (45%) versus those who don’t (31%).
Overall, Trump and Romney are each stronger where the other is weaker, but each has also captured support from, more or less, one-third of their opposing ideology – a key indicator of the division within Utah’s Republican electorate.
“After receiving an endorsement from Trump in his run for U.S. Senate in 2018, Romney has quickly broken from the pro-Trump right, particularly by his vote to convict the former president during both of his impeachments,” said Noble. “Given that, it’s interesting to see the 30-plus-percent of conservatives with Romney and a comparable amount of moderates/liberals with Trump. That’s what is pivotal in the division within the GOP we are seeing in Utah right now.”
Showdown: Trump vs. Romney
After asking about their place in the Republican Party individually, the survey asked Utah Republicans to choose between Romney and Trump for who they would prefer future Republican politicians to think and behave like. In a showdown, 44% selected Trump, 33% chose Romney, and 23% were unsure.
Although there were larger shares of undecideds when asked to choose between Trump and Romney, differences in opinion followed similar patterns seen when determining whether there was room for each in the GOP. Trump-like thought and behavior in Republican politicians was preferred by 49% of conservatives and 35% of moderates/liberals; Romney-like thought and behavior was preferred by 44% of moderates/liberals and 26% of conservatives.
“Having to make a choice between Donald Trump and Mitt Romney, Utah Republicans are even more split and more unsure of their opinion on their vision for the dynamics of the GOP,” said Noble. “Overall, the division in the GOP in Utah is a reflection of what we are seeing nationwide today.”
Methodology: This poll was conducted as an online opt-in panel survey. The survey was completed by O.H. Predictive Insights from December 27th, 2022 – January 4th, 2023 from a Utah Statewide Registered Voter sample. The sample demographics were weighted to accurately reflect gender, region, age, party affiliation, ethnicity, and education. The sample size was 600 completed surveys, with a MoE of ± 4.0%. Among the 600 voters surveyed, 302 were Utah Registered Republicans, yielding a MoE of +/- 5.64% with this group. Numbers may not equal 100% due to rounding.
About OH Predictive Insights: As a nonpartisan public opinion polling, market research, and data analytics firm, OH Predictive Insights provides accurate polling, focus groups, data analytics, and advanced targeted marketing to political and non-political clients alike. With leading professionals in the advertising, communication, polling, and political arenas, OH Predictive Insights serves political and non-political clients looking to improve their footing with key stakeholders and consumers. For more information, please call (602) 362-5694 or submit a request online at OHPredictive.com.
About the UTPOP: The Utah Public Opinion Pulse (UTPOP) survey is a statewide survey of a base sample of 600 – 800 general population state residents (18+ YO) with a statistically significant sample size of registered and likely voters included. Deploying surveys on a quarterly basis, we are able to gauge and keep an accurate and consistent pulse on the perceptions, opinions, and future decisions of state residents on a number of relevant issues and pressing topics for corporate and political insights. With statewide Public Opinion Pulses also conducted in Nevada and Arizona in addition to Utah, our surveys allow data-seekers to look through the 3 unique lenses of general population residents, registered voters, and likely voters in each state for insights most relevant to them. To learn more about our statewide public opinion surveys and for information on how to purchase customized questions to add to our surveys, click here.