(Host) According to a new poll, roughly 60% of Vermonters approve of the job that Governor Jim Douglas is doing.
Douglas’s support is consistent among most demographic groups and a majority of independent voters back his performance in office.
VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:
(Kinzel) Every month, Survey USA conducts a poll of 600 Vermonters to gauge the approval rating for the Governor.
For the past few months, Douglas’s rating has hovered right around 60 % and the new poll, taken in the middle of this month, continues this trend. This rating places Douglas in the top third of the nation’s governors. Not as high as the 72 % rating for New Hampshire Governor John Lynch but certainly much higher than the 17 % rating for Ohio Governor Bob Taft.
Middlebury College political science professor Eric Davis says the 60% threshold represents a key level of support:
(Davis) “For an incumbent governor to have a 60% approval rating after 4 years in office is very good. Comparing how Governor Douglas is doing with say governors in other states. In part it reflects that Vermonters are generally supportive of what he’s done as governor in the last four years. It also reflects that Jim Douglas is one of the best known figures on the Vermont political scene and has been running for some office or another statewide every two years since 1980.”
(Kinzel) The survey found that 53% of the state’s independent voters support Douglas’s performance in office while 40% don’t.
(Davis) “Independents are a very important constituency for any candidate running for election in Vermont. Neither party’s base of voters is close to a majority of the electorate, so an incumbent Republican needs to do well among independents in order to be re-elected and with Governor Douglas polling strongly among independents that should help him as we get into the election campaign this November.”
(Kinzel) Davis thinks Democratic gubernatorial candidate Scudder Parker faces a key challenge – winning the support of those Democrats who voted for John Kerry for president in 2004 but also supported the re-election of Jim Douglas.
(Davis) “Approximately a third of the people who voted for John Kerry for president voted for Jim Douglas for governor. And that’s one of the groups Scudder Parker is going to be targeting this fall to try and get Democrats who might be voting for Bernie Sanders for the Senate and might be voting for Peter Welch for the Congress also to vote Democratic for governor. The challenge for Scudder Parker is figuring out what are the issues that he can use to make that argument.”
(Kinzel) The Survey USA poll also found that only 27% of Vermont voters approve of the job that President Bush is doing.
For Vermont Public Radio I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier