(Host) The initial results of Washington County Senator Bill Doyle’s Town Meeting Day survey are in. The survey is not a scientific poll, but it indicates that Vermonters have strong opinions about a beer tax, medical marijuana and former Governor Howard Dean’s presidential aspirations.
VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:
(Kinzel) Doyle has tabulated over 8,000 surveys from 120 communities across the state. He expects to tally another 6,000 surveys but he says it’s unlikely that results will change very much. Sixty-eight percent of those responding to the survey support a two-cent tax on beer to pay for drug treatment programs, 26% are against it, and just 6% are unsure. Doyle says the message from the public is clear:
(Doyle) “Many Vermonters, myself included, feel it’s out of control. And that Vermonters will stand up and say, ‘Look, enough is enough and if we have to tax ourselves two cents or three cents to help us get the job done, we’re willing to do it.'”
(Kinzel) On the question of whether or not the Legislature should pass a bill allowing patients with chronic illnesses to use marijuana for pain relief, 71% said they supported the plan while 20% opposed it; 9% were not sure:
(Doyle) “I think the controlling words are ‘seriously ill people who are under the physician’s supervision.’ So it isn’t going to apply just across the board. It’s a kind of carefully controlled measure.”
(Kinzel) Vermonters who completed the survey are not very enthusiastic about former Governor Howard Dean’s presidential campaign. Thirty-six percent think Dean does make a good candidate, but 51% don’t, and 13% are not sure:
(Doyle) “I think any governor who’s served for 11 years is bound to each year pick up more unfavorable ratings. And it did appear in the last year of his term that there was more focus on presidential aspirations than on Vermont.”
(Kinzel) According to the survey, Vermonters are pretty optimistic about the future of the state’s economy. Forty-eight percent say they are optimistic while 32% are not; 20% are not sure:
(Doyle) “That was a surprise. Maybe the most surprising feature that Vermonters are optimistic about their state and their economy. I think Vermonters generally are on the optimistic side and that’s the way it came out.”
(Kinzel) The survey also shows that a lot of Vermonters are still evaluating the performance of Governor Jim Douglas. While 46% think he’s doing a good job, 11% say he isn’t and 43% are not sure.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.