Republican Governors Association Fires On Shumlin Using 7D Survey | News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Republican Governors Association Fires On Shumlin Using 7D Survey


The Republican Governors Association is using Seven Days' Legislative Survey as campaign ammunition to attack a Democrat running for governor this year, Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin (pictured).

Makes us wonder if the GOP even read the whole survey. If they had, they might realize they're shooting blanks.

From the Rutland Herald's blog:

On Wednesday, Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin - a 2010 Democratic gubernatorial candidate - was named "most ethically challenged" in a survey of Statehouse lawmakers and staff by Seven Days, the weekly Burlington newspaper.

Today, the Republican Governors Association - the national GOP group supporting Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie's bid for the job of Vermont governor - sent out a press release using that finding to slam Shumlin.

Here's what they had to say:

Yesterday we drew your attention to a story in which several people accused Sen. Peter Shumlin of being misleading when talking about Vermont Yankee, and today we bring you the results of a survey conducted by Seven Days, in which his own peers voted him “Most Ethically Challenged.”

What the RGA neglects to mention is that only 30 people responded to the survey. And only 12 people voted for Shumlin in this category. That's hardly a referendum.

Seven Days agrees, which is why we took pains to explain the survey's low response rate and the likelihood that "winners" of our dubious categories could have easily been victims of lawmakers ganging up to smear an opponent. As a front-runner for the gubernatorial nomination, Shumlin certainly has a big target on his back.

As we pointed out in the survey piece, however, the cross-section of respondents who voted for Shumlin — while small — was notable: Seven legislators, three lobbyists and the only two statehouse staffers to take the survey voted Shumlin least ethical.

Were those seven lawmakers Republicans? Do the three lobbyists work for Entergy, owners of the nuclear power plant Shumlin and his fellow Senators voted to shut down last month? Do the staffers have some axe to grind with Shumlin because of his politics? The survey was conducted anonymously so we'll never know for sure.

But what if survey respondents answered the survey questions honestly? It still wouldn't be conclusive, but it would make you go hmmmm...

Still, if I were the Republican Governors Association, I'd save my political attacks for something with more meat on the bone. Even we admit the survey had limitations — and is hardly reliable ammo for political war.