The respected statistical blog Five Thirty-Eight recently pointed to a fascinating chart that compared public attitudes about various gay rights questions across U.S. states.
This is from a study by Jeff Lax and Justin Phillips at Columbia.
Utah is one of the stragglers at the bottom the chart. But that's not the interesting part. Since the chart shows multiple measures of public support of gay rights, there's not just one number to look at.
Utah's pattern of opinion is unique. It shows dramatically lower support of basic gay rights such as equality in health insurance and housing than all other states. Also interesting is Utah's 50 of 50 ranking of gay parenting. If you study the numbers you could easily make the case that Utah is the state with the lowest overall public support for gay issues in the nation.
Public opinion in Utah is significantly out of step with the rest of the country, even political backwaters such as Alabama. One can speculate that Utah's status as a statistical outlier has a lot to do with the influence of the LDS Church on public opinion in the state. If the Church's influence really is behind these numbers, then this chart should be a cautionary tale for the Church's PR department-- they are at risk of seriously tarnishing the Church's brand with mainstream Americans.
It is also interesting that Idaho is the only other state that is similar to Utah's pattern of gay-related public opinion (for example, in very low support for gay parenting).