Utah Senator Mitt Romney became the first and only Republican to announce his intention to vote to convict President Trump on one of the two impeachment charges. In the process, Romney also became the first senator who has ever voted to remove a president of their own party. Romney cited his Mormon faith as a key driver in his decision.
The move came as something of a surprise for a Republican senator from a deep red state, but a closer look at public opinion in Utah and among Mormons shows that Romney, who is not up for reelection until 2024, might not face much backlash. In the 2019 PRRI American Values Atlas study (the results of which have not previously been released), a majority (55%) of Mormons hold favorable views of Trump, including 24% who hold very favorable views. Four in ten (40%) Mormons hold unfavorable views of the president. However, among Utah residents, Trump’s favorability drops to 46%, with half (50%) holding unfavorable views. Only 16% of Utah residents report very favorable views of the president.
Although a majority of Mormons hold favorable views of Trump, their numbers are notably lower than Trump’s key base religious group. In PRRI’s 2019 American Values Survey, a substantially larger majority (73%) of white evangelical Protestants hold favorable views of Trump. Both Mormons and Utahns hold more favorable views of Trump than all Americans (35%) but less favorable views than Republicans overall (82%). These numbers indicate that Romney’s vote might have less impact in his home state and among people who share his faith than among most Republicans.