(Host) According to the preliminary results of Senator Bill Doyle’s Town Meeting Day survey, an overwhelming number of Vermonters support efforts to expand the state’s bottle deposit law. Respondents also think that doctors should be allowed to help terminally ill patients die.
VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:
(Kinzel) This year’s survey marks the 37th year that Doyle has polled Vermonters on a number of issues pending in front of the Legislature.
Although it’s not a scientific survey, it is viewed as a barometer of public opinion because more than 11,000 people fill out the questionnaire. The results are tabulated by local officials and volunteers around the state.
Doyle says he included a lot of environmental and health questions on this year’s survey because these issues are dominating discussion at the Statehouse this session. The Washington county senator says he thinks it’s significant when at least 60 percent of the surveys support a particular position.
Given those standards, he says the response to a question about expanding Vermont’s bottle deposit law to include non-carbonated beverages was a landslide. Eighty-four percent of those responding think it’s a good idea:
(Doyle) “Vermonters have felt that the bottle deposit law enacted in the early 70s has been successful and they see more non-carbonated containers on the roads and they say, ‘well, why not expand it?’ And this issue has been before the Legislature in the last 10 years, and maybe this is the year where it might have more success.”
(Kinzel) Doyle says he was surprised by the support to this question: “Should Vermont allow physicians to help terminally ill people die?” Sixty-four percent said yes, 24 percent said no and 12 percent aren’t sure:
(Doyle) “I tried to ask a question that was middle ground, that had been used before. So yes, I was surprised.”
(Kinzel) The survey contains some good news for Governor Jim Douglas. People were asked if they thought the governor is doing a good job. Fifty-four percent said yes, 18 percent said no and 28 percent were unsure:
(Doyle) “To do well, you have to be liked and I think people like his style and his personality and his moderation and frankly his ability He also has a tendency or characteristic to find a mid ground in an issue and not be considered either way left or way right.”
(Kinzel) By a three to one margin, people responding to the survey support the construction of windmills on Vermont ridgelines and they strongly oppose an effort to lower the state’s drinking age from 21 to 18.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.