Trump's unpopularity with Mormon voters is fracturing the GOP base — and it could doom him: report
President of the United States Donald Trump speaking at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

On Monday, Politico reported that President Donald Trump is making a frantic effort to win over Mormon voters — a group that has cooled on the Republican Party since he became its standard-bearer, and that could be an obstacle to him winning key Western states.

"Before Trump became the party standard-bearer, Mormons had been among the most loyal GOP voters in the country," reported Alex Thompson and Laura Barrón-López. "But many Mormons found Trump blasphemous, and the church itself made thinly veiled statements condemning the candidate’s rhetoric on immigration and religious freedom. Mormon support for the Republican ticket dropped from 80 percent in 2004 and 78 percent in 2012, to 61 percent in 2016, even as most other Christians moved further to the right, according to Pew."

Utah is well-known for being the state with the largest Mormon population, and it is unlikely the president will lose there. But there are two competitive states with large enough Mormon populations to matter: Arizona and Nevada.

"In 2020, the president is going all-out to change their minds — a little-noticed effort that could make or break him in Arizona and Nevada, home to more than a half-million members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints combined," said the report. "Joe Biden's campaign, sensing an unlikely opening for a Democrat, is also targeting Mormons in the pair of Western swing states."

"Trump dispatched Vice President Mike Pence to Mesa, Ariz., last month for the kickoff of “Latter-day Saints for Trump.” The president’s campaign is planning more events in the coming weeks with prominent Mormons, including former Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer, Utah Sen. Mike Lee and McDaniel," said the report. Meanwhile, "Biden’s campaign has rolled out its own prominent Mormon supporters, led by former Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, a longtime Trump critic who said he believes Biden will 'approach the constitutional role [of president] with the reverence and dignity it deserves.' The campaign is also prepping LDS volunteers to make calls to Mormon-heavy areas seeking support for Biden."