A third of Utah voters support impeachment proceedings against Trump, poll shows

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) President Donald Trump is surrounded by Utah representatives at the Utah Capitol on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, after signing two presidential proclamations to shrink Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.

Roughly a third of Utah voters believe there is sufficient evidence to launch impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, according to a new UtahPolicy.com poll, while just under half believe the president should finish his term in office.

(Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

Another 19% of respondents said Congress should continue investigating Trump to determine whether to hold impeachment hearings in the future.

“Utah’s a Republican state,” said Kelly Patterson, a Brigham Young University political science professor and founding partner with Y2 Analytics. “But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t some disquiet about what’s going on in Washington, D.C.”

The poll, conducted by Y2 between Sept. 25 and Oct. 8, includes responses from 979 registered Utah voters. It has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

While recent polling has shown an uptick in support for the House impeachment inquiry nationwide, the UtahPolicy poll released Friday is the first snapshot of voters in the Beehive State, where support for Trump has remained atypically low for a GOP president, since House Democrats formalized their inquiry.

UtahPolicy also surveyed voters on their approval of Trump, with 45% giving favorable marks to the president compared with 55% who disapprove of his performance. The data also shows a lopsided breakdown among Utah voters who “strongly” disapprove of Trump (47%) compared to those who “strongly" approve of the president (28%).

The Salt Lake Tribune and the Hinckley Institute of Politics similarly polled Trump’s Utah approval rating in June and July, finding 53% of Utahns are dissatisfied with the president’s performance in office.

Patterson said the new poll results do not necessarily translate into clear-cut measures of Utah support for the current House impeachment inquiry or the potential removal of Trump from office. Not everyone understands the impeachment process, Patterson said, and the distinctions between articles of impeachment, an impeachment inquiry and a Senate trial can be clouded by how a participant interprets those elements.

“Right now," Patterson said, “we’re lumping a lot of different perceptions of impeachment into the question."

Most of Utah’s federal delegation is opposed to, or has declined to support, the House’s impeachment inquiry, which was launched in the wake of a whistleblower complaint that accused Trump of asking a foreign nation to investigate one of his political rivals.

The White House subsequently released a partial transcript of a phone call between Trump and the president of Ukraine, during which Trump urged his Ukrainian counterpart to open an investigation into unsubstantiated allegations of corruption against the family of former Vice President Joe Biden, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Trump later publicly called on China to open its own investigation into the Bidens.

Earlier this month, Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, threw his support behind the inquiry, saying it is “necessary” to establish the facts around Trump’s actions. And last week, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, added to his criticisms of Trump by saying “everyone understands” that it is wrong to ask a foreign government to investigate one’s political opponent.

“I don’t think there’s any exception to that,” Romney said.

Romney has frequently drawn the ire of Trump by questioning the president’s actions. In recent weeks, Trump has tweeted in response that Romney is a “fool” and a “pompous ass."

The new poll shows relatively consistent results among Utah’s four congressional districts. Support for the start of impeachment proceedings was highest in the 2nd District, at 39%, which includes Salt Lake City and is represented in Congress by Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah.

In the 4th District, represented by McAdams, 44% of participants said Congress should not hold impeachment hearings and Trump should finish his term, 31% said there is enough evidence now to begin impeachment proceedings and 24% said additional investigation by Congress is needed.