Rep. Ben McAdams’ approval rating drops, but it’s still higher than Utah colleagues, poll says

Washington • Rep. Ben McAdams says he isn’t concerned about a new poll showing a drop in support among Utahns because the survey still shows he has a higher approval rating than his fellow House members from Utah, all of them Republican.

A poll by UtahPolicy.com and KUTV found 43% of likely voters in McAdams’ 4th Congressional District approve of his job performance compared to 40% who do not. That’s a slip of 11 percentage points in McAdams’ approval rating from October when the same news outlets found 54% of likely voters in his district approved of his performance.

The poll, conducted Jan. 16-30, comes a month after McAdams voted to impeach President Donald Trump on two counts, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Trump was later acquitted on a near-party-line vote by the Senate, with only Sen. Mitt Romney voting from the Republican side to convict Trump on the first charge.

The biggest drop, the poll found, was among those who described themselves as “strong Republicans,” where McAdams fell from 28% approval in October to 10% now. About 26% of independent voters who lean Republican gave McAdams good marks in the latest poll as compared to 56% in October.

McAdams said he doesn't focus on polls but noted that he thinks his numbers will improve as voters move on from news about the impeachment proceedings.

“I'm encouraged that I still have the highest approval rating of our entire delegation and not really focused on the specific up and downs of any particular poll,” McAdams told The Salt Lake Tribune on Tuesday at the Capitol.

The January poll, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1%, showed Rep. John Curtis with the second highest approval rating at 40% and Rep. Chris Stewart at 39%.

Rep. Rob Bishop — who is not running for reelection, but is governor candidate Thomas Wright’s running mate — clocked in at 36% approval rating, according to the poll. All three besides McAdams are Republicans.

McAdams said while the impeachment vote may have topped the minds of Utahns of late, there are issues on his list that are more important.

“I think, you know, as people get refocused on the stuff that I've been working hard on, they'll see value in my work to lower the cost of prescription drugs to lowering the suicide rates in Utah and improve our air quality.”

Meanwhile, McAdams has joined with a bipartisan group of House members called the Problem Solvers Caucus to find middle ground to get beyond the partisan spats that consume Washington.

The caucus, made up of 24 Republicans and 24 Democrats, claims victories that include helping to pass a trade deal among the United States, Mexico and Canada as well as trying to find solutions on fixing prescription drug prices.

I think at the heart of fixing a broken Washington has to be building trust amongst each other,” McAdams said before a news conference where the group implored fellow House members to join them.