Do LDS Dems like Mitt Romney?

While 23% of all Utah Democrats view Governor Romney favorably, that proportion goes up to 42% when looking only at Mormon Democrats.

This analysis was performed by Matthew Frei, a student research fellow at BYU’s Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy (like us on Facebook), in collaboration with CSED faculty. The writing is mostly his. Inquiries about this research should come to Kelly Patterson or Quin Monson.

LDS Democrats, an official caucus of the Utah Democratic Party, recently announced a fundraiser as part of the Democratic National Convention next month in Charlotte, NC.  Our last post demonstrated that most Mormon Democrats think Governor Romney’s candidacy is a good thing for their faith. Of course, thinking that Romney’s run for the White House is boon for the LDS Church and personally approving of him are two different things. So, how do Utah’s Democrats feel about the GOP presidential candidate?

Our June telephone survey in cooperation with Key Research asked Utah voters whether they have a favorable or unfavorable impression of Mitt Romney. A higher proportion of Utah Democrats have a favorable impression of Mitt Romney (23%) than the approval of Utah Republicans of Barack Obama’s job performance (5%). While the comparison is complicated by the fact that the question about Romney measures “favorability” and the question about Obama measures “approval” it appears that Utah Democrats are happier about the Republican nominee than are Utah Republicans about the Democratic nominee. We did include additional questions probing why they like or do not like either politician. Still, it is unlikely that almost a quarter of Utah Democrats agree politically with Governor Romney.

What explains the difference?  It is probably shared religious experience that best explains Democrats’ affinity for Romney.  While 23% of all Utah Democrats view Governor Romney favorably, that proportion goes up to 42% when looking only at Mormon Democrats. Only 16% of Democrats from other faiths and 19% of non-religious Democrats say the same. The comparison is even more striking when comparing the proportion of respondents who indicated that they have a “strongly favorable” view of Romney. 19% of Mormon Democrats have a strongly favorable view of the former Massachusetts governor while 4% of Democrats from other religious faiths and 6% of non-religious Democrats said the same.

The 2012 Presidential election provides an opportunity to see how voters form opinions of political candidates. While sharing political beliefs (such as party attachments) with candidates is important, religion also matters. Democratic Mormons are much more likely to like Mitt Romney than are other Democrats.

Survey Methodology

The sample was drawn from the publicly available file of Utah registered voters. A model of general election turnout was estimated using age, party registration status, length of registration, and past election turnout. This model was used to estimate a probability of voting in the 2012 general election. A Probability Proportionate to Size (PPS) sample was drawn using this turnout estimate such that voters with a higher probability of voting have a higher probability of being selected in the sample. For a detailed explanation of a similar model used with PPS sampling in an online survey, see Michael Barber, Chris Mann, J. Quin Monson, and Kelly D. Patterson. “Online Polls and Registration Based Sampling: A New Method for Pre-election Polling.” The sample was then matched to a database of telephone numbers and sampled voters were administered a questionnaire over the telephone by Key Research. The survey field dates were June 12, 2012 – June 19, 2012. The sample of 500 produces a margin of error of 4.4%.

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About Quin Monson

Quin Monson is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy at Brigham Young University.
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