Utahns vote for Trump despite believing he doesn’t respect their values

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Utah Colleges Exit Poll volunteers Shannon Rindlisbacher and Adam Pulsipher poll voters at Provost Elementary School in Provo, Utah. (Ryan Turner)

Utah has voted for the Republican presidential candidate in every election for the past 52 years — and this year is no exception.

However, there are fewer Utah voters who believe Donald Trump is a moral person or respects their values than there are voters who believe the same of Hillary Clinton, according to data from the Utah Colleges Exit Poll.

According to Utah Colleges Exit Poll projections, Trump won Utah with 38 percent of the vote. Clinton took 33 percent of the vote and Evan McMullin took 22 percent of the vote.

The exit poll data shows 49 percent of Trump voters and 32 percent of Clinton voters mainly did so to vote against another candidate.

Both the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune published editorials urging voters to not vote for Trump. However, those editorials largely didn’t affect strong Republicans who are very active Mormons.

Seventy percent of very active Mormons voted for Trump, while only 2 percent voted for Clinton. About 1 percent of strong Republicans who are very active Mormons said the Salt Lake Tribune influenced their vote “a lot,” and about 3 percent said the Deseret News editorial influenced their vote “a lot.”

Jobs, economy and national security were the most important issues to Utah voters. Trump was the candidate with the highest percentage of voters who said illegal immigration was “very important.”

Utahns tend to favor a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. However, they also tend to favor Trump’s immigration policies, which include building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and subjecting illegal immigrants to deportation.

National security was a higher priority among Trump voters than Clinton voters. Trump has frequently cited Middle Eastern refugees as a national security concern. However, most Utahns believe Syrian refugees should be allowed into Utah.

The 2016 presidential election marked the first time in history one of the two major U.S. parties has had a female candidate. Pollers asked voters how important they think electing the first female president is, outside of political preferences.

Among Utah voters, 65 percent of Democrat men and 74 percent of Democrat women found electing the first female president “very important.” On the other hand, 23 percent of Republican men and 21 percent of Republican women thought electing the first female president was “very important.”

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