(Host) As Governor Jim Douglas announces that he’ll seek a third term in office, a new poll shows a dip in his numbers.
According to the poll, a majority of Vermonters approve of the job Douglas is doing, but the number of people who disapprove of his work in office has risen more than 10 percent since the beginning of the year.
VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.
(Kinzel) For most of his two terms in office, Douglas has enjoyed relatively high approval ratings but the results of a new poll indicate that this support is declining.
Survey USA is a national company that conducts a monthly gubernatorial poll in every state in the country. 600 people are interviewed and the poll has an error rate of plus or minus 4%.
In January, the poll found that 69 % of voters approved of Douglas’s job performance while 25% didn’t.
Since then the governor’s approval rating has declined. A poll released last week shows that Douglas’s rating has dropped by 10 points since the beginning of the year and now stands at 59%.
The number of people who disapprove of Douglas increased 12 % during the same time period and now stands at 37 %.
St. Michael’s College political science professor William Grover isn’t surprised by the drop in Douglas’s approval rating. Grover thinks Douglas has been hurt by at least two issues – his veto of a gender identity bill and his support for a health care reform compromise that Grover says doesn’t really address the growing cost of health care for small businesses and schools:
(Grover) “So if you couple the veto of the gender identity bill with the smiley face compromise over the Catamount plan, which I think is out of step with what Vermonters want, those could be two reasons why in the last couple of months he’s been viewed in a more negative light than he was 6 months ago.”
(Kinzel) Douglas faces Democrat Scudder Parker in the General Election. Grover thinks Parker has some major challenges if he wants to unseat the two term incumbent governor. He thinks Parker needs to develop some signature issues in this campaign including a much more comprehensive health care plan:
(Grover) “On health care and the environment he really needs to own those issues and to pump up his visibility and his name recognition. A lot of people have no idea who Scudder Parker is, and he’s got to change that fairly fast.”
(Kinzel) The Survey USA poll also shows that President Bush’s approval rating in Vermont is the lowest in the country. Just 25 % of Vermonters approve of Bush’s job performance – while 74 % disapprove.
For Vermont Public Radio I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.