VPR Poll Shows Voters Undecided In Several Statewide Races

10/15/10 5:50PM By Bob Kinzel
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(Host) The VPR Vermont Poll finds a lot of voters haven't decided who they'll support for lieutenant governor and other statewide offices.

And as VPR's Bob Kinzel reports, there's little question that undecided voters will play a critical role in deciding who wins.

(Kinzel) Because the race for governor is getting so much attention, it may not be a great surprise that many voters haven't focused yet on some of the other statewide races. More than a third of them didn't even recognize the names of the candidates in the lower-tier races.

According to the VPR Vermont Poll, in the race for Lt. Governor, Republican Phil Scott leads Democrat Steve Howard by 9 points. Scott received 41percent support and Howard had 32 percent.

But 21 percent of the poll's respondents say they're undecided about this race.

UVM political science professor Garrison Nelson isn't surprised by these results.

(Nelson)
"The large number of undecideds is due to the fact that neither has run statewide before. So people's impressions of these two people are yet to form. Secondly, Phil Scott is campaigning very aggressively and he knocked off a Snelling - no small feat in the state of Vermont."

(Kinzel) The race for auditor is to close to declare a leader. Republican Tom Salmon got 38 percent support and Democrat Doug Hoffer got 34 percent. That's within the margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points. And once again there are a lot of undecided voters - 23 percent.

Nelson says that as the incumbent, Salmon should be concerned that his numbers aren't higher, But Nelson notes that Salmon switched parties last year - he was elected in 2008 as a Democrat and then became a Republican.

(Nelson)
"So the question is what kind of party loyalists are going to back his candidacy."

(Kinzel) There are also a lot of undecided voters in the race for Secretary of State. While Democrat Jim Condos got 39 percent support and Republican Jason Gibbs received 36 percent, 23 percent aren't sure who they'll vote for. Nelson says two factors are likely to determine the outcome of this race.

(Nelson)
"Name recognition and party loyalty because you really don't have enough to go on as far as issues differences are concerned."

(Kinzel) The approach of party loyalty makes a lot of sense to Willette Stone of Lyndonville. She participated in the poll.

(Stone)
"Well, my family way, way back were all Republicans. And I think that we're the conservative party. The liberals, I don't have no nothing in me is liberal."

(Kinzel) Meanwhile, Jim Nicholson of Brattleboro is on the other side of the political fence.

(Nicholson)
"I'm really considering just voting straight ticket I'm just really disgusted with the Republican Party right now. It seems to be just such an obstructionist agenda."

(Kinzel) The VPR Vermont Poll was conducted by Mason Dixon Polling and Research of Washington, D.C., earlier this week. A total of 625 registered voters, who say they're likely to vote, were interviewed over the phone.

For VPR News, I'm Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.


VPR Vermont Poll Results

Visit Campaign 2010 for full VPR Vermont Poll Results

VPR Vermont Poll Statewide Races

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