What makes Utah such a red state?

Looking at recent polls in all the states I find that McCain had the most dominant lead in Utah. 26.3% Obama, 62.7% McCain.
Is there any simple explanation for this? Is it just the basic majority demographic of white and mormon that gives Republicans such dominance here?
Or is there some other demographic I’m missing?

Mormons and rednecks.

Not being snarky.

See here for one analysis. The high LDS population is a major factor in the conservative lean of the state.

Fivethirtyeight.com has had an ongoing series of demographic studies of each state, and how those demographics affect the election. Here’s their study of Utah. Interestingly, many of Utah’s demographics point towards Utah being a solid blue state: it’s #1 in youth population and #49 in senior population, numbers that would usually favor the Democrats. Of course, that demographic is all but swamped by Utah’s #1 rankings in Bush vote margin, percentage of GOP registrations, percentage of Mormon/LDS, and liberal-conservative index, its top-ten ranking in percentage of male residents, and its bottom-ten rankings in registered Democrats, per-capita income, percentage of African-American voters, and unemployment rate.

Essentially, if you wanted to create a solidly Republican state, you’d make Utah, just as if you wanted to create a solidly Democratic “state”, you’d make DC.

What’s amusing is that back in the 1890s, Republicans opposed Utah’s entrance into the Union because, since it was Mormon, it would be Democratic (and it did go Democratic in the first election after statehood).

Similarly, when Hawaii and Alaska became states, it was a compromise to add both of them because it was expected that one would be predominently Democratic and the other predominently Republican. Only the one that was expected to be Democratic was Alaska, and the one that was expected to be Republican was Hawaii, and it turned out exactly the opposite.


I was gonna say all the sandstone, after I read the thread title. But I see I was wrong (and Utah has gray sandstone, too. City Hall in Salt Lake is built of it.)*
As mentioned, it’s the very conservative LDS population. I was co-chair of the Education Committee at the Catholic Newman Center when I was there, and it fascinated me that the traditionally conservative Catholic population were a bunch of flaming liberals compared to the LDS.

*Actually, the soil of the Raritan River at New Brunswick, NJ is considerably more red than the rocks at, say, Arches National Park. But it can’t vote.

Do you have a cite for that? I remember the situation exactly as you do, but people tell me I’m nuts. (Of course, that could be true for other reasons.)


It’s the Redneck Moromons;)

Seriously, the McCain numbers are a pretty close approximation of the percentage of Mormons here. We are gaining population quickly and the new immigrants tend to be younger, more liberal and more ethnically diverse. If trends continue, I’d say that Utah will be solidly blue by the 4012 election cycle.