Researcher ORCID Identifier

Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Politics and International Relations

Reader 1

Professor David Andrews

Reader 2

Professor Vanessa Tyson


Over the last fifty years, the state of Utah has become increasingly characterized as an immovably Republican state. This recent trend has, by many scholars, been associated with the rise of conservatism in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ members since the 1970s. This research aims to interrogate this surmised relationship by examining how Latter-day Saints have impacted electoral outcomes and trends in the state of Utah. To do so, voter turnout, party affiliation of elected candidates, and the competitive nature of elections from the years 2000 to 2018 in four different Utah counties: Salt Lake County, Weber County, Davis County, and Utah County- all of which have varying percentages of Latter-day Saints yet are geographically and demographically similar, were examined and analyzed. The evidence reveals that Utah’s turn to conservatism cannot be attributed entirely to the large population of Latter-day Saints and, in turn, asks for a re-examination of the popular and scholarly belief that Utah’s politics are entirely religiously polarized. Instead, the data points to themes of larger nationwide trends, such as lack of electoral competition, low voter turnout, political polarization, and the conservatism of rural and white populations.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.