Year after year, Utah predictably votes for Republican candidates in major political elections. Even in 2016, when the Presidential polls showed a tight race, Trump won the state overwhelmingly. This article will answer the question: why is Utah so Republican?
Utah’s Presidential Voting History
Utah’s deep red roots are best exemplified by the state’s voting history in Presidential elections. Since 1952, Utah has only voted for the Democratic candidate once (Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964).
Utah also hasn’t had a Democratic Senator since 1976, when Frank E. Moss represented the state. Orrin Hatch, one of the state’s current Senators, defeated Moss in the 1976 elections and is currently the longest serving Republican Senator.
But the question remains — why is Utah so Republican? Why is the state so conservative?
A Look At Utah’s Demographics
Utah is so Republican because of the high Mormon population and overrepresentation of white voters. Let’s take an look at both of these key factors:
The Mormon Population
Utah is unique because it is the only state that has a majority Mormon population (67%). Although the Mormon Church does not officially endorse political parties or particular candidates, the social views of the religion often align with that of the Republican Party. Both the Mormon Church and the Republican Party are generally opposed to abortion, same-sex marriage, and drug legalization.
In the 1970s, as the Equal Rights Amendment (1972) was passed and Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of abortion rights in the Roe v. Wade (1973) decision, the Mormon Church aligned with the oppositional moral arguments made by the Republican Party. The Mormon Church opposed the Equal Rights Amendment because of its “serious moral implications.” The Mormon Church also opposed the Roe v. Wade (1973) decision due to the Church’s anti-abortion position.
Furthermore, political Mormon role models tend to be Republican. Most of the prominent Mormon politicians — such as Mitt Romney, Mike Crapo, Orrin Hatch, and Jason Chaffetz — are all conservatives. There are exceptions to this trend, most notably Harry Reid, the former Senate Minority Leader.
The racial composition of Utah is another indicator of why Utah is so Republican. The state is 91% white, less than 14% Latino and less than 2% black. White voters (who tend to vote Republican) are overrepresented, while minority voters (who tend to vote Democrat) and incredibly underrepresented.
But What About Age? Utah Is The Youngest State!
Yes, it’s true. With a median age of about 30 years, Utah is the youngest state in the union. Younger voters strongly skew Democrat, but there’s an important caveat when examining Utah. Many Mormons practice polygamy — marriages with one man and multiple wives. A lot of the time, each wive will have multiple children, which drastically brings down the state’s median age. 30% of the state’s population is under 18, and therefore, unable to vote.
Why Is Utah So Republican? A Summary
Utah, a predominantly Mormon state, aligns with the Republican Party and many social issues. This, plus the state’s racial demographics (which skew towards conservatism), is the reason why the state is so Republican. Now that you’re an expert on Utah, share this article on social media with your friends and family! Feel free to leave me a comment down below if you want to talk politics. Thanks for reading!