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Younger Utahns Resemble National Peers on Politics, Religion

Utahns of all ages are generally more conservative than others across the nation, but a new report shows younger Utahns are more aligned with their national peers when it comes politics and religion.  

The latest report from the non-partisan research group Utah Foundation is the last of a four part series that focuses on the attitudes, beliefs and needs of the different generational groups in Utah and how they compare to the rest of the nation. Research analyst Christopher Collard says it’s not surprising that in every generation, Utahns are more likely than residents of other states to consider themselves to be religious people

“Another thing that probably doesn’t surprise anyone is with each younger generation people are less likely to consider themselves a religious person,” Collard says.

Millennials and Gen Xers, those born, between the 1960’s and 2000’s are more likely to support gay rights than their older peers save for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who are less likely to support gay rights regardless of their generational group.

Mallory Bateman is another research analyst for Utah Foundation who focused on politics in the report. She says it’s no real surprise there are a lot of Republicans in Utah.

“But there was a surprise in the fact that our numbers for those who didn’t identify with either political party matched up almost completely with the national averages,” Bateman says. “They end up being the biggest portion of our population around 40 percent across the generations with millennials being the highest percentage.”

Bateman says millennials over reported their voter registration and participation.

She says only about 45 percent of millennials are registered to vote and 25 percent turned out to vote in the 2012 presidential election.

About 1,300 Utah residents were asked about their views for this study.  

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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