GOP is strong in Utah but at 25-year low in rest of nation

Deseret News/May 2, 2009

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Republicans are down and out in most of America. But not in Utah, where carrying the GOP banner gives you a great chance of being elected.

Recent polling shows that across the nation the number of Americans saying they are Republicans has dropped to a 25-year low.

Only 23 percent identify with the Grand Old Party, a new Pew Research Center survey shows. Other national polls show the percent of Republicans has dropped to the high teens.

But a review by the Deseret News over the same quarter-century time frame finds that Utahns are not among the faint-GOP-hearted.

In fact, polling for the newspaper and KSL-TV since 1985 by Dan Jones & Associates shows little change locally in political party affiliation over the years.

Forty-four percent of adult Utahns said they were Republicans in March 1985; 44 percent in April 2009 said they were Republicans, Jones' surveys find.

GOP Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., who has increasingly been named as a leader in national Republican Party politics, says the party outside of Utah must rebuild and re-energize or become "like the Whig Party of 1856" — then a national party that was swept aside by drastically changing American politics.

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