The Doyle Town Meeting Day Survey Ritual Continues | News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

News + Opinion » News

The Doyle Town Meeting Day Survey Ritual Continues


It's far from scientific, but the annual Doyle Town Meeting Day Survey has, for more than 40 years, provided a snapshot of what Vermonters think on a wide range of topics.

Since 1970, Sen. Bill Doyle (R-Washington) has sought the opinion of Vermonters on the hot topics of the day.

This year, Doyle is seeking Vermonters' opinions on whether they support a four-year term for governor (an oft-asked question dating back to that first 1970 survey); whether Vermont Yankee should be relicensed beyond 2012 (a repeat from last year); whether the state bottle bill should be expanded and whether Vermonters have confidence in Gov. Peter Shumlin.

As with last year's survey, the Vermont Yankee question tops the list, followed two other current legislative topics: cellphone use while driving, and physician-assisted suicide, or "death with dignity" legislation.

This year's survey also asks about Tasers, whether Vermonters are willing to pay more for locally grown food and renewable energy, and whether people be required to buy health insurance.

"Since it looks like that idea [mandatory health insurance purchase] is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court, I thought it would be good to hear what Vermonters have to say," Doyle said.

This year's survey has a few questions that were posed by others, and who asked Doyle to include them on the survey. For example, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott is interested in whether people still support the law requiring motorcycle helmets, while the Montpelier police chief is interested in knowing if the public supports the use of Tasers by law enforcement.

"I think this is the most new questions I've ever had on a survey," said Doyle.

The surveys are distributed, and often collected, by lawmakers as they attend town meetings in their home districts next week. Critics of the survey say it's open to easy manipulation because people can fill out more than one survey form.

Here are the 13 questions, in order, as they appear on the Doyle survey. People can respond "yes," "no" or "not sure." You can provide your own responses here in the comments section.

1. Should  Vermont Yankee's license be renewed in 2012?

2. Should drivers be prohibited from using cellphones while driving?

3. Should Vermont legalize physician-assisted suicide?

4. Should Vermont have a four-year term for governor?

5. Should there be a mandatory minimum sentence for repeat DUI offenders?

6. Should Vermonters be required to buy health insurance?

7. Do you have confidence in Governor Shumlin?

8. Should Vermont continue to require the use of motorcycle helmets?

9. Should law enforcement personnel be permitted to use Tasers?

10. Should Vermont's legislature encourage bicycling and walking?

11. Should Vermont's bottle deposit law be expanded to include all bottled beverages?

12. Are you willing to pay more for locally grown food?

13. In order to encourage wind, solar and other renewable energy sources, are you willing to pay higher prices?