If the polls are any indication, Republican Gov. Phil Scott and former Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman could serve side-by-side again in January.
According to recently released results from a poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire for WCAX, Scott holds a double-digit lead over his Democratic challenger Brenda Siegel in the gubernatorial race. Of those polled, 48% said if the election were held today they would vote for Scott, while 31% said they would support Siegel, giving Scott a 17-point lead with decided voters.
Independent candidates Kevin Hoyt, Peter Duval and Bernard Peters each voted in single digits. Currently, undecided voters make up 13% of those polled.
The survey was conducted online between September 29 and October 3, and 765 Vermont residents participated. The margin of error is 3.5%.
There is more than a month until Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 8, but Vermonters are getting their mail-in ballots. Siegel faces the hurdle of name recognition competing against a third-term governor with high approval ratings.
Siegel has never held office before, but has run in statewide elections twice. In this week’s poll, 41% of respondents said they didn’t know enough about Siegel to have an opinion on her. But it is gaining ground: in April, this figure was 73%.
On the other hand, Scott was widely recognized by survey respondents; only 2% said they didn’t know enough to have an opinion on him. Of those polled, 52% said they viewed him favorably, 24% neutrally and 22% unfavorably, making his net preference rating a +30.
Mirroring data from previous surveys, UNH reported that Scott is viewed “rather favorably” by voters across the political spectrum, including Democrats and Independents, despite his Republican tag. His job performance approval rating has dipped slightly since UNH’s last survey in July, from 66% to 63%.
Of the survey respondents, 24% said they viewed Siegel favorably, 13% neutrally, and 22% unfavorably. His net preference rating is +2, according to the poll. By comparison, in April, of those who knew enough to form an opinion, UNH found that 11% viewed it favorably, 10% neutrally and 5% unfavorably.
Siegel’s campaign seemed encouraged by this week’s results, writing in a Wednesday email that the campaign “crushed all expectations!” »
“Since we started this campaign, we have been counted,” the email told supporters. “We were told we couldn’t compete with our outgoing Republican governor. Thanks to you, together, we are proving them wrong. It’s a competitive race and we’re ready to go.
In the race for lieutenant governor, 51% of those polled said they would vote for Zuckerman, a progressive/Democrat who previously served in the same position for two two-year terms before stepping down to challenge Scott in the 2020 gubernatorial race. Among respondents, 35% said they planned to vote for Joe Benning, a moderate Republican and veteran of the Vermont State Senate, leaving Zuckerman with a 16-point lead with decided voters.
Voters undecided about who should be the state’s No. 2 executive make up 12%. Those undecided voters will be key in determining which candidate wins next month, given the poll’s margin of error.
Benning also has a ways to go when it comes to name recognition. Of those polled this week, 52% said they didn’t know enough about him to have an opinion. Of those who do, 14% said they view it favorably, 24% neutrally and 10% unfavorably. The UNH concluded that Benning is “somewhat popular” with Republicans, while Democrats and independents are “divided in opinion.”
Zuckerman was more widely recognized than his Republican competitor, with just 10% saying they didn’t know enough about him. Of the respondents, 34% viewed it favourably, 22% neutrally and 34% unfavorably. While Zuckerman is popular with Democrats, UNH reported, he is unpopular among independents and “very unpopular” with Republicans.
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