Vermonters Strongly Support Both Sanders, Scott, New Poll Shows | Off Message

Bernie Sanders
Vermonters Strongly Support Both Sanders, Scott, New Poll Shows


Sen. Bernie Sanders campaigning in Iowa - PAUL HEINTZ
  • Paul Heintz
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders campaigning in Iowa
Vermont voters overwhelmingly support Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) over his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, while Republican Gov. Phil Scott remains popular halfway through his second term.

Those were some of the key findings of a new Vermont Public Radio — Vermont PBS poll released Tuesday morning.

The survey of 603 registered voters conducted earlier this month showed Sanders with a commanding lead over his fellow candidates, suggesting that he is well positioned for the March 3 primary in Vermont.

Fifty-one percent of likely Democratic voters surveyed said Sanders would be their preferred primary candidate, with former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg a distant second at 13 percent. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) trailed with 9 percent, followed by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg with 7 percent, former vice president Joe Biden with 5 percent and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) at 4 percent.

Though perhaps unsurprising for a politician who has enjoyed a 40-year political career in the state, the results suggest a very different result than the New Hampshire primary.

Sanders declared victory there with 25.7 percent of the vote, just 1.3 percentage points ahead of Buttigieg and 5.9 points ahead of a surging Klobuchar.

The Vermont PBS — VPR phone poll took place the week before the February 11 New Hampshire primary. It was conducted by a New Jersey research firm and overseen by Rich Clark, a political science professor at Castleton University, and had a 4 percent margin of error.

If the GOP primary were held now, the poll showed 85 percent of likely Republican voters favor a second term for President Donald Trump. Just 6 percent said they'd support former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld, though Gov. Scott recently threw his support behind the challenger.

The poll also showed Scott enjoying a strong lead over his potential gubernatorial rivals. Asked to pick between Scott and Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, 52 percent said they would hand Scott a third term, with 29 percent choosing Zuckerman.

Scott enjoyed an even wider lead over Rebecca Holcombe: 55 percent to the former secretary of education’s 20 percent.

Both challengers suffered in part from a name recognition deficit compared to the governor, with 21 percent saying they’d never heard of Zuckerman and 61 percent saying the same of Holcombe.

While Scott enjoys strong support, so do two policies that he has recently vetoed — paid family leave and minimum wage increases.

The poll showed that 41 percent of voters support raising the minimum wage to $12.55, while another 33 percent support increasing it even more.

That’s 74 percent of Vermonters supporting a policy that the governor has blocked from becoming the law of the land.

Similarly, 56 percent of voters said that they would support a paid family leave program “even if it would mean higher taxes,” while 35 percent said they would oppose it. Scott vetoed a mandatory paid family leave program this year that would have been paid for by payroll taxes.

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