I recently conducted a survey of the voters in Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain to see which advocacy groups they agree with and support. This was an interesting follow up to the the Scorecard that I posted that showed how the various advocacy groups.... This was a more complicated and time consuming survey that I usually conduct. I had a number of people that responded that they didn't have the time to do the necessary research to answer the survey accuratly. I will have permission to post some of those emails below.
These are the results from Survey on Advocacy Groups:
Suth-#1 Sutherland Institute: Conservative and Social Values advocacy
Taxp-#2 Utah Taxpayers Association
Librt-#3 Libertas: Utah Libertarian Think Tank
Cham-#4 Utah Chamber of Commerce: Advocacy for Business and Industry
P4C-#5 Parents for Choice in Education
GrsR-#6 Utah Grass Roots: Advocacy for Conservative principles
AgCC-#7 Utahns Against Common Core
UEA-#8 Utah Educators Association: Teacher's Union
The Sutherland Institute, which is a Conservative Values advocacy group was the big winner in my survey. I think that is fitting because the voters in Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain are among the most conservative in Utah and probably the nation. From their web site they say that they promote the values of FAMILY, RELIGION, CHARITY, PRIVATE PROPERTY, FREE MARKETS, PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY, LIMITED GOVERNMENT. Last year I was ranked #15 by Sutherland and this year I was #8. While there were several bills that voters in EM & SS disagreed with Sutherland's priority bills, most of the disagreements with technical aspects of the bills and not the principle of the bill.
The Utah Taxpayer's Association came in a close 2nd to the Sutherland Institute. For some of the survey, they were actually in first place, but got passed by Sutherland during the last few days of the survey. It is clear to me that the voters in Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain are concerned about taxes and want to keep them as low as possible. I am happy to report that throughout my political life, I have had the support and endorsement of the Taxpayers Association because of my belief the individuals can spend their hard earned income better than the government. Last year I was ranked #1 by the Taxpayers Association in the Legislature with a perfect score and this year I was #11. Of the survey's that I did of bills that the Taxpayer's Association took a position on, voters in Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain agreed with 100% of their positions.
Libertas, a libertarian think tank, came in 3rd even though it lost a tiebreaker question with the Chamber of Commerce. Libertas did fairly well in the survey, but also had the 3rd highest number of negative votes. I personally have strong libertarian values, but there are some issues that I am more conservative than libertarian. For example, I strongly believe in local control, so I got marked down in their rankings when I voted against the HB97 "Dog Bill" on grounds that local communities should be able to make those decisions for themselves. I also lost points in their rankings for my position on law enforcement and drug laws. I agree with their positions about 75% of the time and my rankings show that I got a 69% score on the bills that they tracked which put me in the top 25 of legislators in the house. It is interesting to note that of the bills that I surveyed my constituents, my voters only agreed with Libertas' position 50% of the time.
The Utahans Against Common Core (UACC) was ranked #4 by my voters and shows the opposition to big government intrusion in local education in my area. There is strong opposition to both the Common Core Curriculum and Federally mandated Common Core Standards in northern Utah County. No one that has blanket support for Common Core could ever get elected in a competitive election in our area. I received a 67% ranking from UACC and was #18 of 75 because of their opposition to non-partisan school board elections, which I felt was better than the current selection committee, and my support for the pre-school voucher bill for children with learning disabilities.
The Chamber of Commerce came in 5th among voters in my area. I am a strong supporter of business and agree with many aspects of their principles. I typically vote in favor of the bills that they support because there have been no votes on the issues that I disagree with them on (immigration) since I have been in the legislature. Last year I was given an award as a "Champion of Business" due to my votes that they supported. As I said above, the Chamber of Commerce actually beat Libertas in a tie breaker question so technically it could have been listed as #3 above.
I think that Utah Grass Roots was ranked low among the conservative advocacy groups by voters in my area because of low name recognition. I actually really appreciate their advocacy and re-publish some of their blogs.
Parents for Choice in Education came in #7. I anticipated them getting a higher ranking because of the support that I hear from voters for parental choice. They actually led education advocacy groups for most of the time, but fell behind on the last few days of the survey. I personally get high rankings from PCE because I vote about 90% of the time for the bills that they support. This year I was ranked #8 of 75 law makers.
The Utah Educators Association (UEA) is the only liberal advocacy group on the list which explains why they came in last place. They also got almost half of the negative votes which offset almost all of the positive votes they received. There are some issues that I actually agree with them on on some issues. However, they rank me #45 and #52 out of 75 legislators which puts me in the bottom third. However, I am actually among the highest rated Republicans in Utah County by the UEA.