SALT LAKE CITY — Utahns don't want President-elect Donald Trump to build the wall he promised along the U.S.-Mexico border and also don't believe he'll get Mexico to pay for it, according to poll results released Thursday.
The UtahPolicy.com poll found that 55 percent of Utahns are opposed to the "big, beautiful wall" that Trump pitched throughout the presidential campaign as a means to stop illegal immigration across the nation's southern border.
The massive project was supported by 42 percent of Utahns, but a whopping 81 percent said they did not believe the president-elect would be able to fulfill his pledge to make Mexico pick up the cost.
The poll was conducted for the online political news source by Dan Jones & Associates. A total of 614 registered voters were questioned Dec. 8-12, 2016, for the poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.95 percent.
Trump's tough talk on immigration, including calling immigrants from Mexico criminals when he announced his bid for the White House, goes against the beliefs of many Utahns, University of Utah political science professor Tim Chambless said.
"Historically, Utah is a state of immigrants," Chambless said, citing the Mormon pioneers who settled here after being driven out of other parts of the country.
"For a president of the United States to be talking about building a wall, that runs contrary to the spirit of our history," Chambless said, especially since the majority of members of the state's predominant Mormon faith live outside the United States.
Last year, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, criticized Trump, who had proposed barring Muslims from entering the country, for making "statements that some have identified correctly as religiously intolerant."
Lee said Trump was unpopular in Utah, a state that "consists of people who are members of a religious minority church; a people who were ordered exterminated by the governor of Missouri in 1838. And statements like that make them nervous."56 comments on this story
Trump talked about building the wall between the U.S. and Mexico when he made a campaign stop in Salt Lake City last March, shortly before coming in third in the state's presidential preference caucus vote. He won the state in November.
The billionaire businessman also told the Utah audience he would "guarantee" Mexico would foot a bill he estimated at some $12 billion but others have said would cost more than twice as much.
Chambless said the Mexican government has been clear they won't pay for the wall and suggested Trump "might want to spend part of his own billions for it. I'd like to see him donating some of his own money."