Poll shows Parker 10 points behind Douglas

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(Host) With a week to go until Election Day, a new poll has raised the hopes of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Scudder Parker.

But incumbent Republican Jim Douglas says the momentum is going his way, not Parker’s.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) Parker met with reporters at the Statehouse for a little show and tell demonstration.

The candidate’s poster-sized prop of newspaper clippings was a dig at Governor Douglas’s fondness for ribbon-cutting ceremonies. Parker brandished his scissors and went to work.

(Parker) “Here it is, folks, some headlines about the job losses that we’ve experienced in the time Jim Douglas has been governor of the state of Vermont.”

(Dillon) Parker says the loss of well-paying manufacturing jobs and the rising cost of housing, energy, and health care raise a basic question for voters:

(Parker) “Are you better off today than you were four years ago, and the answer for most Vermonters, is a resounding “no.””

(Dillon) According to Parker, there’s growing momentum for Democrats in Vermont and around the country.

He takes heart in a new poll conducted by WCAX TV that shows him 10 percentage points behind incumbent Republican Jim Douglas.

(Parker) “And we have seen it in the people who have come out and are joining our get out the vote effort, who are volunteering to do leaflet drops, who are going door to door and are mobilizing the people of the state of Vermont. That is what’s going to turn the tide.”

(Dillon) But Douglas isn’t worried. The Burlington Free Press just endorsed him, even though the paper picked the Democratic candidates for U.S. House and lieutenant governor. And Douglas doesn’t believe the WCAX poll. He points out that a similar poll four years ago showed him 10 points down.

(Douglas) “Well, I agree the CAX poll is not accurate. In fact if it were four years ago, I wouldn’t be standing here today.”

(Dillon) And the governor has a quick rebuttal to Parker’s spoof of the gubernatorial ribbon-cuttings.

(Douglas) “He can make fun of cutting ribbons, but when I cut a ribbon, something good is happening. There’s a new business open, a non-profit organization, a municipal facility is on-line and serving the needs of the community. And frankly, everybody seems very happy to have me there.”

(Dillon) In response to Parker’s charge that voters are worse off now than four years ago, Douglas says wages and employment have gone up, not down.

He Douglas says jobs have been lost in the manufacturing sector because of global trends outside the state’s control. But he says employment has increased in other parts of the economy – such as health care, education and financial services.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon in Montpelier.

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