Thursday, July 21, 2011

Utah firmly against same-sex marriage, but not civil unions

With Utah, there’s no question voters oppose same-sex marriage. After all, it’s one of the reddest states in the country with a population that’s 70% Mormon. PPP confirms this as only 27% of Utah voters think that same-sex marriage should be legal compared to 66% who think it should be illegal. Republicans in Utah, who make up 50% of the state, are united 89-6 against legal same-sex marriage, while Democrats only support it 66-29. Unlike other states, independents also oppose legal same-sex marriage by a large margin, 52-36. This is likely due to the fierce opposition to same-sex marriage from Mormons. Mormons oppose same sex marriage 83-13, while non-Mormons come out strong for same-sex marriage rights by a 63-29 margin. Even in Utah, same-sex marriage has plurality support among the youth with those 18-29 in favor of legal same sex marriage 42-39.

When civil unions are included, a solid 60% majority of Utah voters come out in favor of some form of recognition. 23% favor marriage, 37% civil unions, and 39% oppose all recognition. With this level of support in Utah, it’s likely that there isn’t single state in the nation stands in opposition to all recognition of same-sex couples.

Despite the Mormon Church’s history of supporting polygamy, Utah is united in opposition to its legality. 75% of Utah voters think Polygamy should be illegal while only 14% think it should be legal. What’s most interesting about these numbers is the breakdown between Mormons and non-Mormons. Mormons are actually a bit less likely to support legalized polygamy. 14-78, than non-Mormons, 16-70. Utah voters also leave the Mormon Church’s history in the dust when it comes to interracial marriage, supporting legal interracial marriage 88-5. Mormons support legal interracial marriage a bit less strongly than non-Mormons, 87-5 and 90-5 respectively, but the difference is slight.

As for Utah’s politicians, Mike Lee, who ousted Bob Bennett at the Utah Republican convention, rates only a tepid 35-31. This is a poor rating for a state where Republicans outnumber Democrats more than 2-1. While Lee does fine with Republicans rating 53-12, he gets almost no support among Democrats, 6-60, and is deep underwater with independents, 24-44. Congressman Rob Bishop rates similarly with only a 32-30 rating. Like Lee, Bishop is down considerably with independents 24-47. For many politicians, this would be the kiss of death, but in Utah a Republican usually won’t have any problems unless Republicans begin to disapprove.

Former senator Bennett does better than Lee and Bishop among the general population of Utah voters, rating 48-34. However, Bennett only rates 50-32 among Republicans. Bennett is on positive ground with Democrats, 42-34, and independents, 48-37, but his crossover support proved useless when he had to defend himself against a more popular Republican in his own party last year.

As for sports, Utah voters prefer BYU as their favorite college team by a narrow 35-33 margin over Utah. 11% prefer Utah State, 5% Southern Utah, 4% Weber State, and 1% Utah Valley. Almost all the support for BYU comes from Mormons. Mormons prefer BYU over Utah by a 48-21 margin, but only 3% of non-Mormons prefer BYU compared to 61% who prefer Utah.

Full results here


Pat H said...

You brought up Rob Bishop. Did you poll that Governor race? Just curious. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Well, this is a mixed bag of results on equal marriage issues. Utahns apparently don't mind throwing GLBT families on the back of the bus with civil unions, as opposed to granting full civil rights equality with equal marriage rights. But I always find this strange given that we Mormons have a history of our own "deviant" sexual practices and "abnormal" marriage configurations with polygamy. My question to Utahns, however, would be whom should biological hermaphrodites marry eternally, and at what point in their sexual life cycle? Inquiring minds want to know.

Frosty said...

Utah hasn't been 70% Mormon since the mid 90's! Makes me wonder about the rest of the numbers.

The Interesting Times said...

The gay rights movement's insistence on an all-or-nothing (gay marriage only) approach, as opposed to an incremental (civil unions now and gay marriage later) approach, is really pushing off any kind of victory into at least the next decade.

Although the psychology of such an insistence isn't hard to understand, it seems disproportionately widespread in the gay rights movement. You would think the movement would have more pragmatists.

Chuck In Seattle said...

"With this level of support in Utah, it’s likely that there isn’t single state in the nation stands in opposition to all recognition of same-sex couples."

Have you asked in Mississippi or Alabama or West Virginia or Oklahoma? I think that's the only other places that might be close. (Apologies: as a Minnesotan & Washingtonian, this is based slightly more on stereotype than any hard data.)

Dustin Ingalls said...

It's not necessarily more pragmatic to accept civil unions first. The pushback on gay marriage later would be, "You already have the same rights. What's the need for semantics?"

Anonymous said...

"With this level of support in Utah, it’s likely that there isn’t single state in the nation stands in opposition to all recognition of same-sex couples."

I'd be very interested in seeing a comparable poll in the neighboring state of Idaho. My experience would tell me that the above quote would prove to be untrue.

Anonymous said...

Many gay Californians will never forget that most of the money to fund Prop 8 came from Mormons and how that money was used. The political ads that they paid for and ran daily on radio and tv for months leading up to the vote portrayed gay people as a danger to children and society. Absolutely vicious.

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