What are Vermonters thinking? 5 takeaways from a new poll

A new poll from Vermont Public Radio and Vermont PBS illuminates Vermonters’ views on the governor’s race, the coronavirus pandemic and other current issues.

The poll consisted of 604 phone interviews with Vermont residents between Sept. 3 and Sept. 15. Results have a margin of error of 4 percentage points for questions that everyone answered.

See the full results here. 

Gov. Scott in a strong position for November election 

As Vermonters start casting their ballots through early voting and mail-in voting, the poll shows incumbent Gov. Phil Scott leading his Progressive and Democratic challenger, David Zuckerman, by a significant margin — 55% Scott to 24% Zuckerman.

In fact, according to the poll, Scott has higher approval ratings than Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Patrick Leahy, Rep. Peter Welch and President Donald Trump.

Scott is seeking a third two-year term as governor. Zuckerman is the current lieutenant governor. 

More:Here are all the candidates for Vermont governor in 2020

The contest to replace Zuckerman as lieutenant governor is more competitive, with respondents split between Democrat Molly Gray (35%) and Republican Scott Milne (31%).

More:Here are all the candidates for Vermont lieutenant governor in 2020

The presidential election in Vermont is mostly about Trump

A majority of Vermonters plan to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, and President Donald Trump is weighing heavily in their decision. 

Among Biden voters, 63% said they were mostly concerned about opposing Trump. Just one quarter of Trump voters said they were motivated primarily to keep Biden out of office. 

A COVID-19 vaccine? Some would wait

About half of people who answered the poll said they would be very or somewhat eager to get a COVID-19 vaccine “as early as possible” — provided that such a vaccine is available in the next 12 months. 

A combined 43% said they would be somewhat or very reticent to line up for a vaccine against the virus. 

A legal marijuana market remains popular

The poll again found strong support for a system of legalized cannabis sales, such as the one being proposed by the Legislature in S.54.

More than two-thirds of Vermonters said they would support such a market. Cannabis is legal for adults to possess and use in limited amounts, but there is no legal way to buy it in the state.

More:Vermont lawmakers reach deal on marijuana sales, taxation

Most Vermonters say studying U.S. history — even the dark chapters — strengthens the nation

About three out of four people responding to the poll agreed with this statement: “The U.S. may not have been perfect, but focusing on its historical flaws … makes the U.S. stronger.”

A 15% minority said focusing on the nation’s past flaws is a weakness.

Contact April McCullum at 802-660-1863 or amccullum@freepressmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at @April_McCullum

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