(Host) According to a new VPR poll, a strong majority of Vermonters disapprove of the way that President Bush is handling the economy. Today in our series on “The Pulse of Vermont” VPR’s Bob Kinzel also examines how Vermonters feel about a possible war with Iraq.
(Kinzel) It’s clear from the new VPR poll that President Bush’s generally high approval ratings fighting terrorism don’t carry over to certain domestic issues.
Of those responding to the poll, 34% think the president’s handling of the economy was either excellent or good, while 62% rated Bush’s performance as either fair or poor.
Middlebury College political science professor Eric Davis thinks the results reflect concern about both the national and state economy:
(Davis) “The combination of the decline in the stock market over the summer the attention being focused to corporate malfeasance, and especially here in Vermont a number of large layoffs and closings that have been announced in just the last several weeks. It is making more and more people concerned about the economy and reflecting negatively on the president.”
(Kinzel) Despite the concern about the economy, the poll also shows that most Vermonters feel secure about their own employment. 57% are very secure or moderately secure about their jobs, while 17% are not very secure or not all secure.
The poll was conducted by Action Research and company spokeswoman Sheryl Eaton thinks most Vermonters have two views about the economy:
(Eaton) “It’s like people are able to look at the macro and then the micro level a little bit differently. Casting an eye at the nation in general and giving a less favorable account, and then taking a look at their own situation and saying I feel pretty good despite all of that.”
(Kinzel) The poll also shows that Vermonters are very split about a possible war with Iraq. The poll was taken just after the president’s speech to the United Nations last week. While 39% strongly approve or somewhat approve of an effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power, 45% somewhat or strongly disapprove. And only 19% feel that the President can take military action without the approval of Congress.
Professor Eric Davis:
(Davis) “What President Bush has yet to do is convince the American public at large of the case for going to war with Iraq. Bush will have more opportunities to make that case over the next few weeks.”
(Kinzel) There’s a strong difference of opinion on this issue between men and women in Vermont. While a majority of men approve of military action against Iraq, a majority of women oppose it.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.
(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