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Utahns agree COVID-19 is serious, diverge on other issues

Posted at 4:57 PM, Oct 11, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Foundation is breaking down poll numbers that show the issues of most concern to Utah voters heading into November’s election.

A series of Utah Priorities Project briefs found Utah voters are most concerned about healthcare, government spending, education, the economy and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have two main survey questions that really shed some light on the issues and how people feel about this,” said Shawn Teigen, research director of Utah Foundation.

The two questions asked 780 respondents if the state reopened the economy too soon in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic or if the state was too cautious in its reopening plan.

“56 percent of the people responded — this was early July — they responded that we opened it back up too quickly. The other 44 percent said we were too cautious,” Teigen said.

The split is mostly down party lines.

93 percent of people who identified as strong liberals believed the economy reopened too soon.

82 percent of strong conservatives believed the state was too cautious with its plans.

Face coverings were another area of division.

Most people who identified as moderate liberals support some kind of mask mandate. 97 percent said they would be in favor.

Moderate conservatives had a different take, with slightly more than half in favor of a mandate.

40 percent of moderate conservatives favored face coverings being encouraged, but without a mandate.

“If you look at people who do wear masks, over half of them — 6 in 10 — say they do it to protect themselves and the people around us,” Teigen said.

Eight percent of those polled said masks should not be encouraged at all. That small group indicated different reasons for answering in that manner.

“They are expressing their rights and they don’t feel, even if there is a law, they should be required to wear them,” Teigen described. “People say they are uncomfortable. People say they don’t think it’s going to help.”

Utah Foundation is a non-partisan research organization. The poll aims to give voters more facts before they head to the ballot box, while letting policy makers know what issues are most important to constituents.

The complete findings of this project can be found here.