Sunday, February 16, 2020

Trump's GOP Opposition in Utah Gave Romney Some Backbone

Mitt Romney becoming the first Senator in the President's party to vote to convict on one of the charges in Trump's impeachment trial did raise some eyebrows.  It may not be as surprising given that he and Trump have butted heads.  However other Republicans who have butted heads, with Trump in the past, such as Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham, and Ted Cruz, were fine with giving him a blank check for future abuses of power.  Could there be another explanation for Romney's not towing the line?

Utah has been one of the reddest states in the union for decades having not voted for a Democrat since 1964.  In 2012 Romney received 72% of the vote there over Barack Obama for President.  That was the highest percentage of the vote he received that year. He received 63% of the vote when he ran for the Senate there in 2018.  

The election numbers for the state look different in 2016 for Utah.  Ted Cruz won the GOP caucus there with 69% of the vote.  In the general election, Trump won the state with only 45% of the vote.  Independent candidate Evan McMullin received 21% of the vote in the state while Hillary Clinton received 27.8% that year.  

This year, the support for Donald Trump in Utah is at 52% as of December 2019 while his disapproval is at 44%.  This gives him a +8% net approval rating.  At the same time, neighboring Wyoming is the state with the strongest net approval rating with +27% (62% approve and 35% disapprove).  

These numbers were not enough to persuade Utah's other Senator, Mike Lee, to vote to convict, but clearly they did not dissuade Romney from doing so.  It may still be a tall order to get the state to go blue this fall but it clearly has an independent streak with lukewarm support for Trump.  William Weld should spend a lot of time campaigning there.

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