Less than half of Utahns can name their state representatives, study says

Feb 14, 2019, 3:07 PM
State Representatives...
Only 44 percent of Utahns say they can name either their state senator or house representative, according to a Utah Policy study. (Photo: Steve Griffin / Deseret News)
(Photo: Steve Griffin / Deseret News)

You voted for them in November – but do you remember who your state representatives are today? According to a new Utah Policy poll, for slightly more than half of Utahns, the answer is “no.”

The study, which polled 882 Utah voters just two months after the election closed, found that 51 percent were unable to name either their House or Senate representative.

But even that number, Utah Policy admits, might be a little high. It admitted that there was a major limitation in how it did its study. The real numbers, it says, might be even worse.

Can you name your state representatives?

Utah Policy Poll

The results of Utah Policy’s poll. (Image: Utah Policy)

The results of that poll found that:

  • 51% can’t name either of their representatives
  • 44% can name at least one
  • 6% aren’t sure if they can name one or not

Education and age, the study found, had the biggest impact on whether someone thought they could name their representative.

Older voters were significantly more confident. 57 percent of voters between 18 and 24 said they couldn’t name their representatives, compared to only 49 percent of voters 65 and up.

Education made an even bigger difference. Only 32 percent of people with no more than a high school diploma could name a representative, compared to 56 percent of those with a post-graduate degree.

All of those results, however, have to be taken with a grain of salt. Utah Policy didn’t actually test people on their knowledge. It simply asked whether they could name a representative or not and trusted them to tell the truth. In its own words, they were “going on the honor system.”

Utah Policy says it is a little skeptical whether the 44 percent who say they can name their representative would really be able to do it if they were tested. In a poll like this one, it admits, a handful of people can be counted on to imagine they’re more capable than they really are.

Either way, the results suggest that less than half of us know who we elected to represents us – and when KSL Newradio’s Dave & Dujanovic asked Salt Lake County’s State Senator Todd Weiler about it, he wasn’t surprised.

“There’s about 5 percent who know me and care,” he joked, “and of the 5 percent who know, probably about 45 percent don’t like me.”

Weiler chalked the poll’s results up to a tendency for people to focus on national rather than local politics. Those who are interested in the news, he says, tend to watch cable rather than local news.

Still, Weiler says that he receives hundreds of emails from constituents every day and that he tries to respond to each one personally.

More to the story

KSL Newsradio’s Dave & Dujanovic say they can name their representatives because, after reading this study, they Googled it.

Hear what they had to say about this story – including their full conversation with Sen. Todd Weiler – on the Dave & Dujanovic podcast.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL Newsradio. Users can find the show on the KSL Newsradio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

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Less than half of Utahns can name their state representatives, study says