SALT LAKE CITY — Just over a third of Utahns would vote for another term for President Donald Trump, according to a new poll released Friday as controversy continues over his "racist comments" directed at four minority congresswomen.
While 38% of registered voters in the UtahPolicy.com and Y2 Analytics poll said Trump would be their choice if the November 2020 presidential election were held today, 30% were ready to vote for whoever the Democratic nominee turns out to be.
Another 12% of the poll respondents said they'd cast their ballots for a third-party candidate for president, 6% brought up other candidates and 14% didn't know who they'd back.
The poll of the Utah Political Trends Panel formed by the online news source and the survey research firm was conducted online June 27 through Wednesday of 2,608 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points.
On Thursday, results were released showing that more than half of Utah voters disapprove of the job the president is doing. The new numbers come as the president is dealing with the fallout after he tweeted Sunday that four congresswomen should "go back" to "the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."
Trump has said he is not racist while continuing to be critical of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, claiming they "hate America."
Tuesday, the U.S. House passed a resolution condemning Trump's "racist comments," but the next night the president stood silent as a crowd at a North Carolina campaign rally chanted, "Send her back," about Omar.
Omar, a Somali refugee who became a U.S. citizen as a teenager, is the only one of the four congresswomen born outside the country. She has been criticized for making statements seen as anti-Semitic.
Many Republicans around the country, including in Utah, have had little to say about Trump's comments. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, however, has labeled them "destructive, demeaning and disunifying."
Romney tweeted Thursday that the chants at the campaign rally "were offensive, and I’m glad the President has disavowed them." Trump initially said he was "not happy" with the chanting, but on Friday called the rally crowd "incredible patriots."
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, has had no comment.
All of Utah's Republican House members, Reps. Rob Bishop, Chris Stewart and John Curtis, voted against the resolution condemning Trump's comment. In a joint statement, they called on both Trump and Democrats to stop their "inflammatory rhetoric."
In a longer version of that statement posted Friday titled, "Sticks and Stones," Curtis said he does "not support discrimination of any kind and I will not support the disrespect of women or other minorities."
He mentioned Trump by name only once, saying he is "committed to speaking out if any president, including President Trump, violated the Constitution," and that elected officials should be held "to a higher standard of moral and ethical conduct."
The state's only Democrat in Congress, Rep. Ben McAdams, did back the resolution, saying he "found the president's tweet to be offensive and beneath the dignity of the office he holds."
CNN commentator Mia Love, the two-term Utah representative who lost her 4th Congressional District seat to McAdams last year and is considering another run, said Republicans need to speak out about the president's comments.
"When your mind catches up with your heart, you call it out for what it is. To protect the Republican Party, they have to say, 'I'm sorry, but this is not who we are,'" she said on the cable news network Thursday.
Trump "not apologizing, not saying that, 'Hey, I made these racist comments,' is giving people permission to actually say all of these thing. It's actually inciting the worst kind of divisiveness I have seen," she said.
Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jeff Merchant said the poll results released Friday suggest Utahns want a change at the top. Utah has not voted for a Democrat for president since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.
"What it shows is that Utahns are open minded and that Utahns are ready to see our country return to some level of civility," he said. "Frankly, I think most Utahns are tired of the nonstop antics that we've seen come out of the White House."
Don Peay, who headed Trump's campaign in Utah and is a family friend, said previous polls predicted the president would lose in 2016, even, at one point, in Utah, one of the most reliably Republican states in the country.
"He will win Utah again if the economy stays strong and America is safe," Peay said. "Under his bold leadership, if at all possible, those two things will remain."