New Poll Shows Most Utahns Pleased With Mitt Romney’s Vote, But 60% Of GOP Has Negative Reaction
Feb 11, 2020, 11:36 AM | Updated: 12:18 pm
(Photo by Senate Television via Getty Images)
Those various emotions are reflected in a new Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll with KSL showing 22% of Utahns are disappointed and 21% are proud to have Romney as their senator in light of his vote to convict Trump.
The poll also found that 14% are encouraged, 13% are pleased, 11% are embarrassed and 8% are angry. Another 11% weren’t sure.
Romney is the first U.S. senator to vote to convict a president of his own party in an impeachment trial.
Republicans were more disappointed than angry or embarrassed, the poll shows.
Pollster Scott Rasmussen found Utahns’ overall reaction to Romney’s decision mild.
“I think that the events that are considered earth-shattering or momentous in Washington, D.C., don’t necessarily carry the same weight when you get out to voters across the country,” he said.
Rasmussen surveyed 500 Utah registered voters Feb. 7-10. The poll has margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
Given those results, the overall reaction to Romney’s vote was 49% positive to 40% negative, with 11% not sure.
But those number change dramatically according to party affiliation. The polls shows 60% of Republicans had a negative reaction to Romney’s vote, while 31% were positive. Among Democrats, 83% had a positive reaction to the vote and only 13% negative.
“Obviously, there’s a partisan take, Republicans not as happy as Democrats. In fact, Republicans are unhappy with it,” Rasmussen said. “But even the Republican reaction was a bit muted.”
The GOP sentiment, he said, was more, “We wish he would have done it the other way, but we’re not storming the barricades.”
The poll also found 37% of Utahns less likely to vote for Romney in the next election and 36% more likely to vote for him in light of his Senate vote, while for 22% it had no impact. Romney would come up for reelection in 2024.
Republicans were 56% less likely to vote the freshman senator, while 23% were more likely, according to the poll. Among those who describe themselves as very conservative, 62% were less likely to vote for Romney.
If Romney were involved in a primary election right now, Republican unhappiness might be an issue, but in general they have had a “fairly modest” reaction to vote, Rasmussen said.
Conservative state delegates forced Romney into a primary in 2018, which he won handily before winning Utah’s open Senate seat with 62.6% of the vote in the general election.
The one-time GOP presidential nominee anticipated serious “blowback” from Trump and the president’s supporters nationally and in Utah. The response to his Senate speech and vote was immediate, with calls for censure and even expulsion from the party.
Trump lashed out at him on Twitter and in speeches at the National Prayer Breakfast and at his victory rally in the White House.
Just Monday, the president said to Gov. Gary Herbert. “How’s Mitt Romney? You keep him. We don’t want him.”
Members of the Utah Republican Party Central Committee have drafted a resolution to censure Romney and a call on him to “vigorously” support Trump’s agenda. Romney has voted for the president’s policies 80% of the time.