‘The Rundown’: Utahns view Cox, Romney, and Lee more favorably than Biden and Trump

Your Friday morning Utah political cheat sheet

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Utahns view Cox, Romney, and Lee more favorably than Biden and Trump

According to a new poll, Gov. Spencer Cox is viewed more favorably than President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. He also has a higher favorability rating than Sens. Mitt Romney and Mike Lee.

The OH Predictive Insights poll found Cox is seen favorably by two-thirds (66%) of Utahns.  Romney has a 49% favorability rating, which is just ahead of Lee’s 47% favorability. Trump sits at 46%, while only 42% of Utahns have a positive view of Biden.

(Graphic via OH Predictive Insights)

Trump and Biden’s low ratings among voters should not come as a surprise. Trump won the state in 2020 with 58% of the vote, while Biden only got 38% in November.

“In a state where half of all voters are registered Republicans, it should be very difficult for a Republican to be so disliked. However, with President Trump’s unique baggage, it is not surprising,” OHPI Chief of Research Mike Nobel said in a press release.

Less than a year into his first term, Cox gets high marks from Republicans as 80% see him favorably. 55% of independents and 42% of Democrats hold a positive opinion of him.

The opinion of Lee among Republicans is 16 points higher than Romney, but Romney far outpaces Lee among independents and Democrats.

You can see the full poll results here.

Here’s what you need to know for Friday morning

🚨 A horrific day in Afghanistan

  • 13 U.S. troops and at least 95 Afghans died during a pair of explosions outside the Kabul airport on Thursday. [WaPo]

  • “We will hunt you down and make you pay.” President Joe Biden vowed retribution for the attack. [CNN]

  • A terrorist group known as ISIS-K took responsibility for the suicide attack. [NPR]

  • Sen. Mitt Romney tore into President Biden and former President Donald Trump for the decision to remove U.S. troops from Afghanistan. “We were wrong,” Romney said. [Tribune]

  • U.S. officials gave the Taliban a list of names of American citizens and Afghan allies to grant admission to the Kabul airport. That revelation is causing concern and outrage among lawmakers and military officials. [Politico]

⚖️ The Supreme Court overturned President Biden’s extension of the nationwide eviction moratorium during the COVID-19 pandemic. [Tribune]

🦠 “Your liberty affects my health.” Sen. Mitt Romney says unvaccinated Utahns are not considering the effect their decision has on others. He also says Democrats should be solely responsible for raising the debt limit. [Tribune]

💉 Utah’s COVID-19 vaccination rate didn’t increase by much after LDS Church leaders urged followers to get their shots. [Tribune]

🚨 The U.S. Capitol Police officer who shot and killed rioter Ashli Babbit broke his silence on Thursday. Lt. Michael Byrd says he “saved countless lives” and only opened fire as a “last resort” after rioters failed to comply with his orders. [NBC News]

⚖️ Seven Capitol Police officers filed a lawsuit against former President Trump, his allies, and several far-right groups accusing them of intentionally sending a violent mob to attack the Capitol on January 6. [AP]

🗳 Supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment rallied at the Utah State Capitol on Thursday evening. [Tribune]

🦠 CVS is limiting the purchase of at-home COVID-19 tests due to increased demand. [Bloomberg]

Is COVID sending America over the edge?

On Wednesday, I reported that Gov. Spencer Cox held a closed-door meeting earlier this week where he offered to issue an executive order allowing local school districts to implement a mask mandate for students.

One of the participants on that call told me they’ve never seen people at each other’s throats over an issue like mask-wearing in schools, and they fear the divide could do lasting damage.

I want to hear your thoughts about this current political moment we’re in.

Are you fearful the hyperpolarized politics surrounding the response to COVID-19 will get worse or even violent?

Sent your thoughts to me at bschott@sltrib.com. I’ll publish some of your responses on Monday.

Friday’s Utah news roundup


  • ‘I’m scared to death of being out on the street’ — Utah mobile home park begins clearing out residents. [Tribune]

  • Opening days for Utah ski areas are starting to be unveiled. [Tribune]


  • Almost 1,500 more Utahns test positive for COVID-19, and 10 more die. [Tribune]

  • More Utah babies who test positive for COVID-19 are being hospitalized — but it’s probably because fewer babies are getting tested. [Tribune]

  • Utah doctors dispel 6 myths they say are stopping parents from trusting masks. [Tribune]


  • Fewer red lights? Sen. Mitt Romney drives home benefits of infrastructure bill. [Tribune]

  • Utah leaders react to Kabul attacks: ‘This loss of life tears at our collective soul.’ [Deseret News]


  • More than 1,000 University of Utah students and staff sign petition for a vaccine mandate. [Tribune]

  • Will FDA approval of Pfizer vaccine open the door to vaccine mandates at Utah colleges, universities? [Deseret News]


  • 926-stall parking garage planned for Salt Lake City’s booming Granary District. [Tribune]

In the opinion pages

  • Derek Kitchen: Utah will not stand for partisan gerrymandering. [Tribune]

  • Natalie Williams: Don’t let redistricting disempower Utah communities. [Tribune]

  • Commentary: Time to go beyond DACA and pass real immigration reform. [Tribune]

  • Brad T. Rutledge: Pick a Little Cottonwood Canyon transportation solution that solves the problem. [Tribune]

— The Tribune’s Jordan Miller contributed to this report