Utah’s “Monolithic” Mormon Vote

On Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney won the Utah Republican Primary with an overwhelming 90% of the vote. Based upon the high Mormon composition of the state, it is a given that Mormons overwhelmingly voted for Romney, and in fact 94% of Mormons did so (John McCain and Ron Paul split the remaining 6%). It is tempting, then, to view Utah’s Mormon voters as a monolithic bloc, and indeed on first blush this appears to hold true. Certainly on “values” issues we see incredible homogeneity–91% of Utah’s Mormon voters believe Abortion should be illegal; 90% attend church at least weekly; only 5% described themselves as “liberal.”

Digging deeper, however, we find some clear divisions amongst Mormon voters on several key issues. On the immigration issue, 33% of Utah’s Mormon voters believe there should be a chance to apply for citizenship, while 34% believe illegal immigrants should be deported. The divisions on this issue cut across age, gender and income–in fact, the best predictor of this was political philosophy: 50% of the “deporters” described themselves as “very conservative,” compared to only 25% of the folks who chose a path to citizenship.

Also, while nearly two-thirds of Utah’s Mormon voters were positive about the Bush administration, 35% were either “dissatisfied” or “angry.” These voters overwhelmingly chose the economy as the top issue facing voters this year (67%) though economically they profile very similarly to those voters who were satisfied with the Bush administration. Lost in that concern for the economy, however (which many voters shared) was a sharp disagreement over the Iraq war: 90% of Utah’s Mormon voters who approve of the Bush administration also approve of the Iraq war. This contrasts very sharply with the nearly 50% of “dissatisfied” Mormon voters who do not approve of the war. These anti-war Mormon voters were three times as likely to identify themselves as “Independents” than as “Republicans.”