New data from the Pew Research Center shows that fewer Mormon voters are identifying as Republicans this election year.
According to Pew, in 2012 when Republican and active Mormon Mitt Romney was running for president, 78% of LDS voters said they identify as or lean Republican. Data released this week from Pew shows that this election cycle, that number has dropped to 69%.
Quin Monson is a political science professor at Brigham Young University. He says while a 9% difference between presidential elections sounds like a big drop, that 69% is actually more in line with where Mormon Republicans usually are.
“This feels like a reversion to where it should be,” Monson says. “It spiked up with the candidacy of Mitt Romney, and now it’s sort of coming back to where it was before. And that’s been driven in part by this aversion by some Mormons and some Republicans to Donald Trump, but it also reflects just an ebb back from the high water mark of 2012.”
A poll released Wednesday by UtahPolicy.com shows that half of Utah Republicans are considering voting for a third party candidate this year. Monson points out that this reaffirms the negative view many Mormons have of both major-party candidates. But he says many voters just don’t see third party candidates as viable.
“They might actually come back to Donald Trump and reluctantly vote for him,” he says. “But this 50% number, and the unfavorable numbers, and a lot of other indicators suggest much unhappiness with their nominee.”