US Presidential Poll 2016 Election News and Update: Can Donald Trump Get Mormon's Vote in Utah?

By Daniel Lee - 20 Mar '16 23:51PM

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump is about to find out whether he can get a vote from Utah where Mormon faith is deeply rooted.

The billionaire lost to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in Mormon-heavy Idaho this month already showing that he may be have trouble in Utah.

In Utah, around 3 million resides and around two third of them are Mormons. In the most recent primary poll has Trump in third place in Utah - more than 40 points behind Cruz and 18 points behind Kasich .

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with headquarters in Salt Lake City, doesn't endorse political candidates. But, after Trump suggested a total ban on Muslims entering the United States, the church issued a statement in support of religious freedom.

According to a new Deseret News/KSL poll, if Donald Trump are selected as the GOP nominee, the voters of Utah would opt for a Democratic candidate for the first time in 50 years.

While Donald Trump continues to be the Republican primary front-runner, he has small support among the younger generation.

Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks did not answer to discuss the campaign's strategy but addressed that they have invested very few resources to Utah. "I wouldn't say this a place where we are expected to perform exceptionally well," Hicks said.

BuzzFeed's McKay Coppins notes that "while Mormons make up the most reliably Republican religious group in the country, they differ from the party's base in key ways that work against Trump":

"On immigration, for example, the hard-line proposals that have rallied Trump's fans - like building a massive wall along the country's southern border to keep immigrants out - are considerably less likely to fire up conservative Latter-day Saints. The LDS church has spent years lobbying for "compassionate"immigration reform. [...] These pro-immigrant attitudes are common among rank-and-file believers, many of whom have served missions in Latin American countries. Mormons are more than twice as likely as evangelicals to say they support "more immigration" to the United States, according to Notre Dame political scientist David Campbell. And a 2012 Pew survey found Mormons were more likely to say immigrants "strengthen" the country than they were to call immigrants an overall "burden."

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who had supported Sen. Marco Rubio, slammed Trump for making a selfish decision to not attend the debate and urged Utah residents to remember when they vote.

"We care a lot about decorum. We care about our neighbors. We are a good, kind people," Cox said. "He does not represent neither goodness nor kindness."

Donald Trump says he was just joking when he questioned Mitt Romney's Mormon faith during a campaign stop in Salt Lake City on Friday, however in an interview on ABC News' "This Week," he stood by his underlying criticism of the 2012 Republican nominee. 

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