clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Nearly 70 percent of Utahns say Donald Trump doesn't have 'proper temperament' to be president

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks in New York, Wednesday, June 22, 2016. Nearly 70 percent of Utah voters believe Trump doesn't have "the proper temperament" to be president, and most also think the GOP's presumptive nominee is less qu
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks in New York, Wednesday, June 22, 2016. Nearly 70 percent of Utah voters believe Trump doesn't have "the proper temperament" to be president, and most also think the GOP's presumptive nominee is less qualified than Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Mary Altaffer, Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY— Nearly 70 percent of Utah voters believe Donald Trump doesn't have "the proper temperament" to be president, and most also think the GOP's presumptive nominee is less qualified than Democrat Hillary Clinton, according to a new poll.

The UtahPolicy.com poll responses released Wednesday also found that 43 percent of Utahns believe Clinton, the former secretary of state, senator and first lady, will win the White House in November.

With the same poll also showing the billionaire businessman's recent lead over Clinton has dropped 4 percentage points since last month, the Trump campaign is faced with trying to win over one of the nation's most Republican states.

Sam Clovis, Trump's campaign co-chairman and policy adviser, has traveled around the state over the past two days to talk with local and state government officials about a key issue for most Utah Republicans: public lands.

"I think it's something that will be a high priority for the Trump administration," Clovis told the Deseret News. "I think we were very well-received. I think the biggest reason is we're sympathetic to state issues and state causes."

But Clovis wasn't ready to agree with the Utah Legislature that lands now under federal control should be turned over to the state. Utah lawmakers announced last week that a lawsuit against the federal government to force the issue is being drafted.

"One of the things we're looking at is more along the lines of shared stewardship, where we have more cooperation with the state and the federal government," Clovis said.

That may or may not include the Public Lands Initiative being advanced by Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, seen as a means to stop President Barack Obama from designating a new Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, Clovis said.

"We'd have to take a look at that. We have our own things we would like to do from an executive perspective. We want to make sure we have a legislative agenda that's ready to go," he said. "We think this is in the interests of all people, not just Utah."

Clovis said Utah voters need to compare Trump and Clinton and decide "where they're going to be better off." Trump, he said, promises "food on the table, a roof over their heads, gas in their cars" and a safer life.

Utah Trump supporter Don Peay dismissed the polls.

"All of these individual polls right now are meaningless, and that's a fact," said Peay, who organized both Clovis' visit and Utah GOP Chairman James Evans' meeting with Trump on Saturday in Las Vegas. "There's always a lot of noise."

Peay said Trump is focused on Utah to learn how the state maintains a strong economy amid what he termed federal overreach and bureaucracy. "Trump is very interested in the economy and how we unleash the economy," he said.

But Chris Karpowitz, co-director of BYU's Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy, questioned why Trump would be paying so much attention to a state that hasn't voted for a Democrat for president since 1964.

"The fact that the Trump campaign is concerned about Utah is a sign of weakness," Karpowitz said. "If you have to shore up Utah as the Republican nominee, then there's a problem. I think we see that in the assessments in this poll."

Almost half — 48 percent — of the 614 registered Utah voters polled June 8-17 by Dan Jones & Associates said Trump definitely doesn't have the tone it takes to be commander in chief, while 21 percent said he probably doesn't.

Utahns who responded to the poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.95 percent, also raised doubts about Trump's qualifications to hold the nation's highest office.

Only 34 percent said he was more qualified than Clinton. Forty-two percent said Clinton was the most qualified, and nearly a quarter, 23 percent, said they didn't know.

On Tuesday, UtahPolicy.com said the same poll found that 36 percent of Utahns would vote for Trump and 27 percent for Clinton. That's a drop from the 43 percent to 30 percent lead Trump held in May.

UtahPolicy.com publisher LaVarr Webb, who writes a column for the Deseret News, said the results could seem contradictory but actually demonstrate "how crazy this election is and how conflicted people are."

Webb said the Trump campaign has little choice but to address the concerns about the candidate in Utah.

"If there's some trouble cropping up in a Republican state, they have to swoop in and deal with it. It just shows he's got a bigger challenge ahead than most Republican candidates," Webb said.

Money is also becoming an issue for Trump, whose largely self-funded campaign had less than $1.3 million on hand as of May 31 compared with some $42 million for Clinton, according to the Federal Elections Commission.

Utahns contributed less than $25,000 to Trump through last month, compared with nearly $479,000 to Clinton, FEC records show. The candidate who received the most from Utahns, more than $567,000, was GOP Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

Cruz handily won the Utah Republican Party's presidential preference caucus vote in March, sending Trump to a distant third-place finish behind Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Kasich received more than twice as much in contributions from Utahns than Trump.

Email: lisa@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsPolitics