(Host) This Town Meeting Day marks the 41st year that Washington Country senator Bill Doyle has conducted a survey on issues facing the state.
Although the survey is not scientific, Doyle says roughly 12,000 Vermonters will fill them out and he says the results often mirror the results of professional statewide polls.
Doyle launched his first survey in 1969 to gauge his constituents’ support for a tax increase to balance the state budget.
The next year, he says he decided to make the survey an annual tradition:
(Doyle) "Why shouldn’t you know how the people you represent feel on issues? It seemed like a no-brainer. I was so impressed by the quality of the responses – not only numerical responses but the letters that came with them and the explanations."
(Host) This year, Doyle is asking several questions that he included on his 2009 Survey. He says it’s an effective way to spot trends:
(Doyle) "It’s helpful to see the trends and it gives the Legislature a sense of what the trend is to."
(Host) One repeat question this year involves the re-licensing of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. Two years ago, those responding to the survey supported a 20 year license extension by an 11 percent margin – then last year the margin of support dropped to just 3 percent.
Doyle is expecting a far different response this year, given all the problems that Vermont Yankee has had this winter:
(Doyle) "In a year as Senator Brock indicated Yankee couldn’t have come forward with a worse script in terms of marketing the idea of nuclear power. Even within the last week – a day before the Legislature met – they said we’re going to give you a gift. Even the governor was surprised by the timing of the so called gift and the gift itself wasn’t that great."
(Host) Other questions on the survey include a proposed ban on cell phones for all drivers, a plan to keep non violent criminals out of jail and whether or not President Obama is doing a good job.