Doyle survey shows concern about economic future

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(Host) According to the preliminary results of Senator Bill Doyle’s Town Meeting Day Survey, many Vermonters are concerned about the economic future of the state.

The results also show strong support for the presidential campaign of Democratic senator Barrack Obama.

VPRs Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel) The results are based on just over 5,000 surveys – about half the number Doyle expects to tabulate in the next few weeks.

The survey isn’t scientific – it reflects the views of individuals who attended Town Meeting and took the time to fill out the questionnaire – but in the past the results have been quite similar to public opinion polls on a number of key issues.

One of the questions asked, “Are you optimistic about the Vermont economy ?” Last year, 44% said yes and 33% said no. This year the numbers were reversed – 42% said no while 36% said yes.

And by a two to one margin, people responding to the survey indicated that they don’t believe Vermont is “an affordable place to live.”

Senator Doyle:

(Doyle) “More than ever before have I gotten written comments ‘we are now leaving Vermont, we can’t afford to live in Vermont – Vermont is not favorable to the middle class person.’ It’s a lot to bring that up. It’s one thing to record your vote but to take the time to turn on the back and write, explain, why you don’t think it’s affordable.”

The survey also found strong support for a question that asked “Should commercial windmills be built on Vermont’s ridgelines ?” 67% said yes while just 17% responded no. This represents a small increase from last year:

(Doyle) “People have written me and said I’m a strong environmental person but energy, in my case, this time, is going to take precedent. The state itself is an environmentally oriented state but this shows that there’s a practicality here too.”

Doyle has been conducting the survey for 39 years. This year marks the first time he’s included potential presidential candidates on the questionnaire.

Illinois senator Barrack Obama led New York senator Hillary Clinton by a margin of 46 to 33 % for the Democratic nomination:

(Doyle) “Vermonters have taken to Obama, there’s not even any question about it. That’s a pretty strong lead with all the name recognition that Hillary Clinton has and the fact that Obama’s a newcomer.”

On the Republican side, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani edged out Arizona senator John McCain 43% to 39%.

For VPR News, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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