Utahns are split on how much President Donald Trump is to blame for the deadly incursion at the U.S. Capitol early this month.
A new Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll found 40% of residents in the state say Trump is a great deal to blame for what happened on Jan. 6, while 31% say he is not at all to blame.
Another 12% say the outgoing president deserves a good amount of blame and 15% say not very much. Only 3% weren’t sure how much Trump should be blamed for the destructive attack.
Overall, 52% say Trump bears responsibility, while 46% say he is little or not at all to blame.
At the same time, the president’s approval rating in Utah is at its lowest level in the past year.
Trump had urged his supporters to go to Washington to stop the certification of the presidential election results, and people gathered for several rallies around Capitol Hill. During his speech on the National Mall, he told the crowd to walk to the Capitol.
“You have to show strength and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated, lawfully slated,” Trump told the crowd.
Many at the rally marched to the Capitol to give Republicans, as Trump said, “the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”
The violent mob stormed into the building and occupied the Senate chamber, which had been evacuated moments before. Members of Congress still in the House chamber were under direct threat for a time as the mob rampaged through the Capitol before police drove rioters back outside. Five people died in the mayhem.
Among Republicans in Utah, 71% say Trump isn’t to blame for the Capitol attack, while 98% of Democrats says he bears responsibility.
“The Republicans look at what happened and they condemn the people who broke into the Capitol,” said Jason Perry, director of the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute.
“But what has been consistent over the past year and the time President Trump has been in office, they do not believe he is responsible for the actions of these people, from the speech that was given before the riots occurred or for the claims about the election being stolen.”
While conservative voters were less likely to hold Trump accountable and liberal voters more likely, moderates were in the middle. The poll shows 65% of moderates say he deserves blame and 31% say he does not.
Among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the predominant religion in Utah, 57% say Trump deserves little if any blame, while 40% say he bears some responsibility, the poll shows.
The poll also found that 6% of Utahns support the actions of Trump supporters who breached the Capitol.
But the overwhelming majority, 90%, oppose those actions, including 83% who strongly oppose the attack. The number of those who back the Trump supporters goes up slightly among Republicans and conservatives.
“There is a segment of the conservative end of the Republican Party that did support those rioters. That is a group that also believes the election was stolen. They do believe that message from the president,” Perry said.
Florida-based pollster Scott Rasmussen conducted the survey of 1,000 registered Utah voters on Jan. 12-15. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
Trump won Utah and its six electoral votes last November with 58% of the vote to nearly 38% for Democrat Joe Biden, who will be inaugurated as president on Wednesday.
As Trump prepares to leave office, his favorability among Utahns dipped below 50% after being in the mid-50s for the past year.
In the new survey, 49% of residents approve of the job he is doing, while 50% disapprove. His approval rating, though down a little from past polls, still remains high among those who identified themselves as Republicans and conservatives at 76% and 79%, respectively.
Utah Democrats and liberals were nearly unanimous in their disapproval of the president’s job performance at 97% and 96%, respectively.
Nationally, Trump will end his one term with a 29% approval rating, the lowest of his presidency, according to a new Pew Research Center poll. That survey also shows about 75 percent of Americans say Trump bears some responsibility for the Capitol violence and destruction.
In the Deseret News/Hinckley Institute poll, 54% of Utahns say Trump — whom the House impeached last week for inciting an insurrection — should not be removed from office before his term ends. Another 42% say he should be removed.
Perry said although there is widespread support among Republicans for Trump, they are not condoning the actions of rioters.
“They are looking for the peaceful transition to occur, and they do not think that there should be any action to remove him before his time is up,” he said.
There’s no chance of that happening, but the Senate is expected to take up the impeachment trial after Trump vacates the White House. Though removal from office is the primary punishment for a conviction, the Senate could bar Trump from running for office in the future.
All four of Utah’s Republican congressmen voted against impeachment, some arguing the process was rushed and that Trump was on his way out anyway.
Correction: A previous version incorrectly stated pollster Scott Rasmussen surveyed 1,000 likely Utah voters. He surveyed 1,000 registered Utah voters.