New poll results indicate that Vermonters have ambiguous feelings for Governor Howard Dean’s presidential campaign.
VPR’s John Dillon reports.
(Dillon) Howard Dean has been a popular five-term governor. But the VPR poll shows that many Vermonters appear to be skeptical of his presidential candidacy.
Dean is travelling around the country to build support for the Democratic nomination. In his stump speeches, the governor attacks President Bush for his handling of the economy, education and environmental policy.
But the poll shows that if the election were held now, George Bush would get 44% of the Vermont vote and Dean would receive 36%. Others were undecided or favored neither candidate.
Middlebury College political science professor says the numbers are surprising – and they’re bad news for Howard Dean.
(Davis) “If at this stage of the campaign, Dean cannot even show potential supporters that he’s beating the president in his home state, those supporters are going to wonder what the staying power of the Dean campaign is.”
(Dillon) Davis points that more Vermonters seem to favor Bush over Dean, even though they’re unhappy with how the president has handled the economy.
(Davis) “These numbers are particularly interesting to me because the poll shows general dissatisfaction with President Bush’s performance in managing the economy. And in spite of that, almost half of those questioned say they will vote for President Bush over Governor Dean.”
(Dillon) Davis suggests that there are several factors working against Dean in his home state. First, Vermonters are used to Dean as governor and may have a hard time picturing him as president. Second, with the nation facing a dangerous international situation, the public may want to support the president. Still, Davis says it’s hard to imagine a candidate winning a presidential race without being able to carry his home state.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon.
(Host) The VPR poll was conducted September 12-15. 638 Vermonters participated in the poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5%. Read more of VPR’s poll results