PROVO, Utah — Provo voters in nine precincts broke from the rest of Utah County on Election Day and flipped blue to cast votes for Democrats Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
High turnout among young voters in Provo really made the difference in 2020, but it’s a movement that started in 2016 with presidential candidate Evan McMullin.
Half of the 18 precincts - 9 of them all surrounding Brigham Young University - voted for Biden-Harris.
“You can call it what you want,” said Jacob Rugh, an associate professor of sociology at BYU. “You can call it a blue ripple.”
These are the same people who voted for Evan McMullin in 2016, who endorsed the Biden-Harris ticket.
“It’s been a long time since there’s been any neighborhoods here in the county turning blue over 40 years as well,” Rough said. “So it’s a historic day down here in Provo.”
Rough says younger, college-educated, and especially women among Latter-day Saint voters preferred Biden over Trump.
“Members of the church are no exception to this,” Rugh said. “BYU students and others in this community, let’s make it clear, are not all members of the church. Maybe three fourths or so, so it’s a very broad coalition that has made these precincts flip.”
These precincts are a mix of homeowners and people who live off-campus.
Rugh is motivated to use this data to take a closer look at what happened in the heavily Latino precincts. He believes the area will turn more blue over the next four to twelve years.