Young Utahns support same-sex marriage, poll says

Utahns age 18 to 29 support legalizing same-sex marriage by a 42-39 percent margin, according to a new poll released by Public Policy Polling on Thursday. The Utah population at large opposes same-sex marriage by a 66-27 percent margin.

However, there is a huge divide between Mormon Utahns and those that either identify with other religions or are not at all religious. Members of the Mormon Church oppose gay marriage by a 81-13 percent margin, while those of other religions support marriage equality by a 63-29 percent margin, according to the poll.

The survey also included a question about the inclusion of civil unions and found that only 23 percent of respondents oppose some sort of legal recognition for same-sex couples. This finding is in stark contrast with current elected leaders, such as Gov. Gary Herbert and a very conservative legislature, who oppose any legal recognition of gay couples.

Former Gov. Jon Huntsman made headlines when he admitted his support for civil union recognition for gay couples in Utah. Currently, Salt Lake City is the only municipality that recognizes couples through a domestic partnership registry called the mutual commitment registry.

Although the Mormon Church has had a history supporting polygamy and opposing interracial marriage, that is not the case for Mormon voters. With a 75-14 percent margin, Utah voters think that polygamy should be illegal. And among Mormon voters that jumped to 78 percent oppose polygamy. Only 5 percent of Utahns said they oppose interracial marriage and 88 percent said they support it.

The survey also found waning support for freshman Sen. Mike Lee. His approval rating came in at a tepid 51 percent approval and 31 percent disapproval. Even among Republicans, he only had a 52 percent approval and 22 percent of registered voting Republicans did not approve. Only 6 percent of register Democrats said they approve of Lee’s job performance in the Senate while 60 percent disapprove.

The poll also found a divide in Utah’s favorite colleges with 33 percent claiming allegiance to the University of Utah, 35 percent for Brigham Young University and 11 percent for Utah State University.

It was a random polling of 732 Utah voters and the margin of error was plus or minus 3.6 percent. To read the full poll, go to publicpolicypolling.com.

Seth Bracken

Seth Bracken is the editor of QSaltLake

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