Election '10: Leahy Still Leads in the Polls | News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Election '10: Leahy Still Leads in the Polls

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Conservative "Tea Party" candidates chalked up major victories in yesterday's primaries, but that anti-Democrat and anti-incumbent fever doesn't appear to catching hold in Vermont.

A recent telephone survey by Rasmussen Reports shows liberal-leaning Vermont safe territory for its six-term incumbent: Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy.

A recent phone survey of likely voters conducted for Rasmussen Reports found Leahy with a 62-32 edge over his Republican challenger Len Britton. Only 2 percent of those polled preferred another candidate, while 4 percent are undecided.

The 30-point advantage is down from a 35-point edge Leahy held over Britton earlier this year. Leahy's unfavorable ratings have also ticked up since June, according to Rasmussen Reports.

In June Leahy held a 64 to 29 percent advantage over Britton in a similar Rasmussen Reports survey. In March, Leahy held a 58 to 33 percent edge over a generic Republican.

The survey also shows that Britton isn't gaining much ground in terms of name recognition, despite the popular online and television "Billy" ads.

While Leahy holds a commanding lead over his opponents, an increasing number of Vermonters have a "very unfavorable" view of Leahy.

According to Rasmussen, 66 percent of voters have a favorable view of the Leahy, including 51 percent with a "very favorable" opinion of the six-term senator. However, 33 percent have an unfavorable opinion of the veteran pol, including 21 percent who have a "very unfavorable" view.

The recent unfavorable rating is an increase from the June poll. In June, 16 percent of those polled had a "very unfavorable" view of Leahy, while 52 percent had a "very favorable" opinion.

The recent poll's favorable ratings are more in line with the March poll, which showed 20 percent of those polled holding a "very unfavorable" view of Leahy while 46 percent held a "very favorable" opinion.

Comparatively, Britton is still facing an uphill battle when it comes to name recognition. While a scant few percent of people have no opinion of Leahy, 46 percent of those polled don't know Britton well enough to offer an opinion. Of those who do know enough, 10 percent have a "very favorable" view while 6 percent have a "very unfavorable" view.

In June, 6 percent of those polled held a "very favorable" view of Britton and 11 percent held a "very unfavorable" opinion. As in the recent poll, the June survey found that 43 percent didn't know enough about the political newcomer to offer any opinion.

On other issues polled recently, Rasmussen found that just 4 percent of likely voters rate the U.S. economy as good or excellent, while 55 percent describe the economy as poor. Also, 35 percent feel economic conditions in the United States are getting better, while 39 percent say they’re getting worse.

Vermont voters also heavily approve of Pres. Barack Obama. The recent poll found that 63 percent of voters in the state approve of the job he is doing as president, while 37 percent disapprove. Obama’s level of approval in Vermont is well above the ratings he earns nationally, Rasmussen Reports noted.

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