Mormons support GOP, but Trump approval lags

In this Sept. 14, 2016, file photo, the Salt Lake Temple, is shown in Salt Lake City, Utah. | Associated Press photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (AP) — About two-thirds of voters nationwide who self-identified as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints favored Republicans in the midterm elections, but President Donald Trump’s approval rating among members of the faith lagged behind, according to a nationwide survey of midterm voters.

And as Republican Sen. Mitt Romney prepares to join the new Congress in January, most voters in Utah – 64 percent – would like to see the former Massachusetts governor confront the president, AP VoteCast found. About half of Romney’s supporters said they would like to see the senator stand up to Trump, while about as many indicated the senator should support Trump if elected.

Related story: News LIVE: Southern Utah 2018 election results 

The new data reaffirms Trump’s struggle to gain widespread acceptance among members of the LDS church, despite the faith’s deep-rooted conservative leanings.

Voters of other religious faiths, such as evangelical Christians and Catholics, are more consistent in their ratings of the president and vote choice. Across most other religious affiliations, about the same share voted for Republican candidates as said they approve of the president.

That’s not the case with Mormons: 67 percent voted for Republicans, but 56 percent said they approve of the way Trump is handling his job as president. That’s according to an analysis of 1,528 Mormon voters based on data from VoteCast, a survey of more than 115,000 voters nationwide conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago. The data offers an unusual level of detail about the voting decisions of a sometimes misunderstood religion.

Among Mormon voters in Utah, 76 percent preferred Republican congressional candidates, but only 56 percent said they approved of Trump.

By comparison, 8 in 10 white evangelical Christians nationwide voted for Republican candidates, and nearly as many (79 percent) said they approve of Trump. Among Catholics, nearly half voted for Republican candidates and said they approve of Trump (49 percent each).

Nationally, 45 percent of voters said they approve of the way Trump is handling his job as president, while 55 percent disapprove.

Among Republican voters nationwide, 85 percent said they approve of the way Trump is handling his job as president.

Trump has struggled since he was a presidential candidate to gain acceptance in Utah, where the mostly Mormon electorate has long been uncomfortable with his brash style and his comments about women and immigrants. He won the deep-red state in the 2016 election, but many conservative voters cast ballots instead for third-party candidate Evan McMullin as Trump earned the lowest percentage of the vote among GOP presidential candidates since 1992.

Members of the religion, which counts 6.6 million members in the United States, place a high value on manners, amiability and public diplomacy.

According to VoteCast, a majority of Mormons said Trump does not have the right temperament to serve effectively as president (58 percent), while just about 4 in 10 (42 percent) said he does, and 46 percent said the president is honest and trustworthy.

Support for Trump among members of the church nationally was slightly lower among more educated members of the faith. College-educated Mormons were far more likely to vote for Republican candidates than to express approval of the president (73 percent versus 51 percent), while there is no significant gap among Mormons without a college degree (63 percent voted for Republicans, and 60 percent approve of Trump).

By contrast, Romney is widely revered in Utah and by Mormons for being a high-profile member of the Mormon faith in America and for his work in turning around Salt Lake City’s 2002 Winter Olympics after a bribery scandal.

Romney captured 63 percent of the vote to win the U.S. Senate seat vacated by retiring Republican Orrin Hatch, also a member of the faith. VoteCast showed about 8 in 10 Mormon voters in Utah backed Romney (83 percent).

Romney called Trump a “phony” and “con man” during the 2016 presidential race, but their relationship has since thawed. Trump backed Romney for the Senate seat, and Romney has avoided attacking Trump, instead vowing to work with the president on issues they agree on and voice his disagreements when they don’t. Just last week, Romney pushed back against Trump’s comments on Saudi Arabia, saying they are “inconsistent” with U.S. foreign policy.

Nearly two-thirds of Utah voters said they would like to see Romney continue to stand up to Trump (64 percent), compared with fewer who would like to see him support Trump (36 percent). Romney voters were divided: Half said they would want him to stand up to Trump, and half preferred he support Trump. Romney’s Mormon supporters, in particular, were also equally divided on whether he should stand up to Trump or support him.

While the state’s two U.S. senators and three of four of its U.S House members are Republican, Democrat Ben McAdams did unseat incumbent Republican Rep. Mia Love to flip the seat and become the first Democrat among Utah’s congressional delegation since 2014.

Read more: McAdams tops Love to flip another Congressional seat for Democrats 

McAdams pitches himself to voters as a moderate, and not a typical Democrat, in a district that includes many Salt Lake City suburbs. He was among 16 Democrats who signed a letter vowing not to vote for Nancy Pelosi for House speaker.

VoteCast also illustrated Mormons’ preference for a mix of compassion and toughness on immigration.

Just about half of Mormon voters said they approve of the president on his handling of immigration (52 percent) and border security (54 percent). More say immigrants do more to help the country (55 percent) than hurt the country (41 percent). Nearly 7 in 10 Mormon voters — similar to the share of voters overall — also said immigrants should be offered a chance to apply for legal status, compared with about 3 in 10 saying they should be deported. Still, 54 percent of Mormons were in favor of the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Written by HANNAH FINGERHUT and BRADY McCOMBS, Associated Press.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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  • iceplant November 29, 2018 at 11:11 am

    Is that title a shocker or what? Mormons align with the GOP? WHO KNEW???
    And let’s be honest, nobody in their right mind supports Tyrannosaurus Trump.
    First president yet to climb above 50% approval. And it ain’t gonna get any better folks!!!

    • Brian November 29, 2018 at 11:43 am

      Check out this Wikipedia page:

      What’s incredible about Trump is how polarizing / galvanizing he is. Look at the graphs on that page. Every other president has had huge swings, except Trump. JFK was the next most stable / consistent president in terms of ratings and he was at 27 (high rating – low rating) compared to Trump at 12.

      I’m LDS and very conservative but I’m not a Trump fan at all, not on substance, and definitely not on style or character. However, ultimately we were given the choice between him and Hillary, and while I didn’t vote for him, I’m definitely glad he won vs Hillary. That’s being said, I’d love to see a different conservative nominee in 2020 (not that there is even a remote chance of that, barring some massive unforeseen circumstance like health).

      • Comment November 29, 2018 at 2:06 pm

        Yep, it really wasn’t much of a choice. The female version of Adolf Hitler vs. a narcissistic billionaire TV personality. I’m no donald fan, but That woman was bad news.

        • iceplant November 30, 2018 at 12:21 pm

          I agree. I can’t stand Hillary Clinton and I think she would have made a terrible president.
          That being said, I look at the 2016 election like this… we were offered the choice between two turds in a crap sandwich. We were tasked with choosing which turd tasted better. I don’t eat crap.

          Remember folks: choosing between the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.

    • tcrider November 29, 2018 at 12:02 pm

      you hit the nail dead center on the head (nobody in their right mind)
      there is a lot of non right mindedness going on around here.
      and then throw in a little (non separation of church and state)
      you got it , non right mindedness.

  • Not_So_Much November 29, 2018 at 11:17 am

    TRUMP 2020

    • iceplant November 29, 2018 at 12:31 pm

      I agree! 2020 is perfect.
      20 years for obstruction + 20 years for treason.

  • 42214 November 29, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    Why is the church endorsing any political party. Take away their tax exempt status.

    • Chris November 29, 2018 at 1:12 pm

      they do not and have never endorsed any political party.

      • Comment November 29, 2018 at 2:03 pm

        true, not officially endorsed–a bit more subtle but every bit as effective. We LDS were trained from birth to vote for the R-party. If there is a D by the name that person is bad. Liberals are bad. R=good, D=bad.

      • 42214 November 29, 2018 at 2:20 pm

        OK, still revoke all churches tax exempt status.

        • Chris November 29, 2018 at 3:16 pm

          I’m totally on board with that.

      • AnnieMated November 29, 2018 at 3:03 pm

        That’s true but they do consistently and willfully attempt to influence elections. The ONLY reason they get away with it is because they, like the mob back in the day, have the right people in their back pocket.

  • Redbud November 29, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    Ya’ll can say what you want, but Trump is draining the swamp, and will continue to do so in 2020! Trump is one of the greatest presidents our nation has ever had!

    • Comment November 29, 2018 at 2:10 pm

      Well, there is one thing the donald is right about: Illegal riffraff are turning this country into a dump. There is no doubt about it. Gotta keep all those illegal Hondurans from getting in. Even the mexicans don’t like them, so they must be bad news.

      • Chris November 29, 2018 at 3:19 pm

        I suspect your immigrant ancestors were also considered “riffraff” by someone in their time. Not much has changed since then.

        • Comment November 29, 2018 at 6:28 pm

          I’m sure they were. That doesn’t make me want to let my country or neighborhood turn into something reminiscent of some central american or mexican 3rd world backwater dump. What about you, chris, do you live in a nice white, low crime neighborhood with nice white law abiding neighbors? Maybe you should turn in your white privilege card (assuming you’re white? very likely) and move to Honduras, or better yet the Congo..?

      • Chris November 29, 2018 at 3:22 pm

        Comment admits what all Trump chumps really think. Opposition to immigration is really about race not about the law.

        • Comment November 29, 2018 at 6:22 pm

          A lot of it is about race. By no means all of it, but a lot of it. Humans are instinctively a very tribal animal. What can ya do?

          But the hordes of illegals in CA really have made the place miserable. What is it now, 1 in 3 people in CA are illegal aliens?

          • bikeandfish November 30, 2018 at 6:07 pm

            Your racism is showing again. It doesn’t take much effort to fact check your own claims. And you stats aren’t remotely accurate. Roughly 6% of Cali population is illegal immigrants so closer to 1 in 20 residents.

          • Comment November 30, 2018 at 6:24 pm

            total bs

          • Comment November 30, 2018 at 6:25 pm

            Have you been to So Cal lately?

          • bikeandfish November 30, 2018 at 11:54 pm

            You just don’t like facts that are inconsistent with your worldview, in the case your prejudice against anyone from central America or may look like they are from there.

            Here is a reporting of the stats:


            Its ridiculous that you think you can identify illegal immigrants visually. That is some seriously racist “papers please” BS.

            You are exposing your lack of interest in fact-based, rational dialogue pretty regularly now. Its exposing your hate effectively though.


          • Comment December 1, 2018 at 1:37 pm

            If the number is actually only 6% I’d be stunned. I’ve actually known and liked many illegals. I interact quite regularly with at least 2 illegals that I quite like. I like them on an individual level… But, the fact is, you flood in huge swaths of them and it changes the entire cultural/social/economic dynamic of a place. And this is totally besides the fact their skin is darker. Maybe it has more to do with the language. I really don’t know. I’m not a sociologist or whatever. There’s far worse groups of people do live around than illegal latinos/hispanics. That doesn’t mean I want to or should be forced to live around them. They are breaking this nation’s laws just by being here. It’s like being invaded by a foreign culture. Trying to get a point across to you multi-cult supporters is often like talking to a… idk. But you, bike, accusing me of hate and racism is a total cop out, and it sinks you to a new low. It’s a shame, really.

          • bikeandfish December 1, 2018 at 3:29 pm


            Do you really not recognize the racism inherent to your comments? When you talk in ridiculous labels of swarms, floods and invasions (others) it is a form dehumanizing and decinceptualizing others. When you judge and make assumptions of individuals you run into in southern California based about prejudicial stereotypes you are engaging in racist dialoug. When you grossly stereotype birth rates and behaviors of illegal immigrants you are engaging in racist rhetoric. Do you want me to go on? Exaggerating the scale of the problem of illegal immigration in California by 600%? Constantly conflating asylum seekers with illegal immigrants? Constantly bad mouthing central Americans and blaming these poor refugees for the crime and violence thet are escaping? These are classic racist tropes. They’ve been used against black Americans, Muslim immigrants, and European immigrants before they were considered “white” (italians, polish, etc).

            Labeling rhetoric as racist is not lazy, a cop out or “low”. You have shown a long term trend in talking this way and its fair and accurate to call that out as racism. And to clarify, as I have done multiple times, I differentiate between labeling behavior/ideas as racist and labeling a person as such. If you don’t value racism than its up youto change how you share and justify your opinions. I have only labeled one person as racist on this forum I believe and that is NickDanger as he constantly makes white nationalist or ethno-nationalist claims.

            The laziness and “low” bar is set by people who perpetuate racist stereotypes and ideology and try to claim its fact. And I’ll continue to call that BS out for what it is.

        • 42214 November 29, 2018 at 6:58 pm

          Maybe it is about race with some but it is 100% about the law with me. I don’t care if your English, Canadian, Chinese, Mexican, Somali, or a BS asylum seeking immigrant from Central America. Enter legally or you’re a criminal. The left loves to taut the asset that immigrants (illegal) are to our economy. Really? They claim thay pay taxes and never enjoy the benefit of the taxes they pay. There are 3 major areas where illegal immigrants, primarily Hispanic, are an absolute and unquestionable drain on our economy. They take 10 times more than they give.
          1. Public Education; Public schools are funded by property tax to the tune of approximately 89% of their district budgets. How many illegals own property and pay taxes that support their childrens bilingual education.
          2. Medical services: one visit to the ER for an illegal’s child’s runny nose more than wipes out what they pay in taxes per month and ERs are their primary source of medical services.
          3. Prisons: According to the web site FAIR there are 297,000 illegal aliens incarcerated in Federal, state, and local jails.According to the NY Times it costs $168, 000 a year to house an inmate. I don’t think inmates pay their way through prison by making license plates so this is another area where illegals are an absolute drain on our economy. So 297,000 X $168,000 is $49,896,000,000 a year. I’m not a racist, I just don’t like criminals who drain my country of resources and money.

          • Comment November 29, 2018 at 7:36 pm

            If the children of illegals are born in the US they get medicaid, foodstamps, etc. They probably get all kinds of other things like gov’t housing assistance, utility assistance, obamaphones, etc. Having a slew of anchor babies pays off BIG TIME, and they know it. The birth rates by illegals are absolutely enormous. They are a bit like the plygs in this regard. They are experts at milking the teat of the welfare systems. They absolutely are a drain. But the leftists tell us we need people that’ll mow our lawns and pick fruit for cheap. In other words the leftists tell us it’s basically ok to use the illegals as low paid slaves. “They do the jobs ‘muricans won’t do”. Ofc right wingers have enjoyed the low paid slaves for decades as well, and that’s why we’ve been flooded. It’s a bit late to put up a wall. There’s so many here already the wall might just make it harder to get rid of them when the time comes, if that’s even possible. It may be too late. Guess we’d better start learning some spanish.

          • Real Life November 30, 2018 at 7:53 am

            Not according to Bike and Fish. And if he says it’s not true, well you know that he’s always right.

          • bikeandfish November 30, 2018 at 8:35 pm

            First, even if illegal immigrants primarily rent they are still contributing to schools via property tax. Do think most rental management firms or renters pay that themselves? Hell no, as most of us know who rent. Its calculated into “market rent” prices.

            Second, unpaid ER bills aren’t paid by tax dollars so that’s an odd comparison.

            Third, that comparison would work if you also compared to the cost a citizen or resident incurs. Neither of them are likely paying back their cost in any meaningful way either. And ironically illegal immigrants commit fewer crimes per capita than their legal counterparts (citizens or residents).


            Doesn’t seem like your concerns hold much water when analyzed.

    • Rice November 29, 2018 at 3:36 pm

      Draining the swamp by firing people he hired to begin with?

    • An actual Independent November 30, 2018 at 7:14 am

      Draining the swamp? Nah, just changing out some of the reptiles.
      Although, swamps are pretty diverse and important ecosystems so it will be no surprise if he literally orders the EPA to drain them all.

  • hiker75 November 29, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    There have to be republican policiticians who are more trustworthy than Thump!

    • Redbud November 30, 2018 at 1:26 am

      Hiker75, even though I voted for Trump, you may be exactly right! But… We only had the choice between Hillary and Trump at the time, so I chose the lesser of two evils, and so did many other smart people. If a better Republican politician comes along in 2020, then I wouldn’t hesitate to vote for him/her. I would not rule our voting for a Democrat either, but it depends on their stances on issues such as protecting our freedoms, border security, immigration, their idea of gun control, abortion, what direction they plan on taking with our health care, and many other issues that are important to myself and other people.

  • Kilroywashere November 29, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    Hey dont forget about McMuffin. No not the Mcdonald breakfast menu item. Where is he these days? 2020 is only 2 years from now and we need a CIA candidate option. Ok, here’s the scenario. P. Daddy Trump will win in 2020 unless the Dems can get Mark Cuban to run. Which he likely wont because he’s making more profits under the current President then ever, and he enjoys life too much to go thru hell and back, along with his family. With that being said, Oprah knows it will kill her legacy if she runs, and my guess God isn’t going to personally intervene and ask her too either. After that, all you here is the wind blowing across desert sands. In the long run the Mormon’s care about judicial appointments more than anything else, so despite their distaste of the current President’s behavior, they will vote for him in droves. On that note that assumes we get to 2020 in one piece.

  • utahdiablo November 29, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    Oprah…Really?…How about the Depends diaper man Uncle Joe Biden?, now he may have 1/2 a chance of running his adult diapers, or Silly Socialist Bernie “feel the burn”? Or Pocahontas Lizzy Warren?….anyway, if you all hate Trump now?…your gonna really hate him when he wins his 2nd term in 2020

    • iceplant November 30, 2018 at 8:00 am

      You keep telling yourself that.
      Your president is now known as “Individual 1” in an ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice.
      This isn’t about hate. This about removing a criminal from the white house.
      What part of those things do you not understand?


      • 42214 November 30, 2018 at 11:09 am

        No, the country will be lucky if he completes a full term and is re-elected in 2020.

        • iceplant November 30, 2018 at 12:10 pm

          More delusion. Look no further than the midterm results as an indicator of what’s coming in 2020. IF… and only IF Trump makes it, he will be slaughtered. Hopefully, someone with balls from the Republican party will primary him. But I’m not counting on it seeing as the GOP has effectively proven itself completely impotent since the day he took office. Your president is in deep DEEP poop. What do you tell yourself to convince you that he’s anything other than a criminal? Or are you one of those sick people who delight in others crimes and misdeeds?
          Get your head on straight.

          • 42214 November 30, 2018 at 2:30 pm

            I’m praying that Donald and Ivanka run in 2020, an unbeatable team that will save our country.

          • iceplant November 30, 2018 at 3:22 pm

            You should start praying that between now and 2020 you’re given a clue.
            As well, you really ought to stop trolling. Hard to take you seriously.

          • Kilroywashere November 30, 2018 at 3:41 pm

            What’s the lyrics from that 80s Supertramp song. .. “dreamer, nothing but a dreamer”

    • Kilroywashere November 30, 2018 at 3:39 pm

      Yeah , Biden is not worth mentioning, as he will not pull the blue collar from P.Trump. Hes covered in Obama legacy issues. I was only referring to Dems who could potentially beat Trump in 2020. You need a successful usiness man / women with TV celebrity status, and being a billionaire helps. List is short. Political shnooks need not apply, they will all lose. If Clinton or Warren run against him rest assured U.Diablo, P. Daddy Trump will be reelected.

  • Mike P November 30, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    In all fairness, I’m sure an article is coming on what all the other religions in America favor, right?

    • Kilroywashere November 30, 2018 at 3:49 pm

      Yep, the Buddhists will take the zen approach. What is the sound of one hand voting. If you feel like you are in a Mormon bubble, Mike P. , it is because you are. There are no Protestants, Jews, Catholics, and of course Scientologists in these here parts.

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