The statewide poll, conducted by Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics, found that 84% of the state’s Democratic voters approve of Romney, while 64% of Republicans in the state disapprove of his job performance.
More than half of Utah’s Republicans strongly disapprove of Romney. This is his highest disapproval rating ever.
Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jeff Merchant said Democrats are attracted to Romney because he speaks “his truth,” specifically when it comes to former President Donald Trump.
“I have to be really honest. I’m slightly flabbergasted by the number of Republicans who don’t approve of his performance,” he told the Deseret News. “He’s certainly a conservative member of the Republican Party with really a singular exception, which is his unwillingness to go along with all of the antics and, frankly, undemocratic tendencies of Donald Trump.”
Romney was always a vocal critic of Trump, but in recent months his criticism escalated, noted Jason Perry, director of the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics. He was the only Republican in Congress to vote to impeach Trump the first time, and he recently blamed Trump for the Jan. 6 Capitol uprising.
After Romney voted to remove Trump from office, his approval ratings among Utah Republicans tanked to just 23%. On the other hand, 56% of Utah Democrats said they approved of Romney.
Romney’s recent poll numbers are similar to the late Arizona Sen. John McCain’s. Several polls showed that McCain was more popular with Democrats than Republicans — even after his death in August 2018. Just over half of Americans who identified as Republicans had a favorable view of McCain, while 75% of Democrats approved of him.