Dubie, Markowitz favored in early poll for Vermont governor

Wed, 02/17/2010 - 1:03pm -- tim

by Chris Graff
Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie would defeat four of the five Democratic gubernatorial candidates if the election were held today, according to a poll released today. Only Secretary of State Deb Markowitz would beat Dubie - and Markowitz’s edge, 43 percent to 41 percent, with 16 percent undecided – is within the margin of error of the poll, conducted over the past weekend for a trio of news organizations, WCAX-TV, Vermont Business Magazine and WDEV Radio Vermont. (SEE POLL DATA BELOW)
The poll, which is decidedly early in the political season, reflects the fact that both Dubie and Markowitz hold statewide office and thus enjoy higher name recognition than the others.
What is most interesting is that nearly half of the likely voters surveyed had no opinion of either state Senator Peter Shumlin or former state Senator Matt Dunne while more than half had no opinion of state Senator Susan Bartlett. The fifth candidate, state Senator Doug Racine, fared somewhat better: Only one-third of those surveyed had no opinion of Racine, who probably still benefits from the name recognition gained as lieutenant governor and in his home base of Chittenden County.
The lack of opinion about Shumlin is especially surprising because Shumlin, who is the president pro tem of the Senate, has been on TV, radio and in the newspapers every day in recent weeks urging the shutdown of Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. The poll was conducted Sunday through Tuesday.
The poll is early in the season but it should provide a boost to Dubie’s candidacy because it shows him winning in head-to-head matchups against Racine, Shumlin, Dunne and Bartlett.
Most critically, Dubie polled well among the independents, a key demographic. Exit polling in 2008 found 40 percent of Vermont voters self-identified as independents; nationally only 29 percent say they are independent. In the match-ups with Racine, Shumlin, Bartlett and Dunne, roughly half of the independents went to Dubie and a third went to the Democrats. In the match-up with Markowitz, the two split the independents.
The poll also asked likely voters who they would support if Anthony Pollina ran as a Progressive. In all cases Dubie won the three-way races, gaining roughly 40 percent of the vote while the Democrats each gained about 30 percent and Pollina gained 12 percent. Roughly 20 percent was undecided.
Any analysis of this poll cannot emphasize enough that it is incredibly early in the political season. The candidates have only just begun their campaigns; the public is not at all focused on the race for governor.
But with that in mind, here are the major takeaways:

Dubie benefits from his eight years as lieutenant governor. His favorability rating of 46 percent indicates that he is gaining a positive image from his association with the Douglas administration.

Markowitz’s long tenure as secretary of state gives her high name recognition and the highest favorable rating. The poll results show 48 percent have a favorable opinion of Markowitz.

The other Democrats have a long way to go to introduce themselves to the voting public. Long tenure in the state Senate or the holding of legislative leadership posts does not automatically translate into statewide recognition.

The Democrats will continue to be handicapped by the fact there are five of them seeking the party nomination for governor. Not until late August or mid-September, depending on when the primary date is set, will one of them be able to focus on Dubie.

The poll also reinforces the belief that the Republican candidate benefits greatly if there is both Democratic and Progressive candidates running.

It is a long way to the primary and a longer way to November. The dynamics of the race will surely shift once the candidates gear up and start spending money on advertising and organization.
So the major takeaway from this poll is: Don’t count anyone out yet. All of those undecided likely voters will make up their minds at some point.
Chris Graff, a former Vermont bureau chief of The Associated Press and host of VPT's Vermont This Week, is now vice president for communications at National Life Group. He is author of, Dateline Vermont: Covering and uncovering the newsworthy stories that shaped a state - and influenced a nation.
This survey was conducted by Research 2000 of Rockville, Maryland. A total of 400 likely voters were interviewed statewide by telephone between February 14 and February 16, 2010.
Those interviewed were selected by the random variation of the last four digits of telephone numbers. A cross-section of exchanges was utilized in order to ensure an accurate reflection of the state. Quotas were assigned to reflect the voter registration of distribution by county.
The margin for error, according to standards customarily used by statisticians, is no more than plus or minus 5% percentage points. This means that there is a 95 percent probability that the “true” figure would fall within that range if the entire population were sampled. The margin for error is higher for any subgroup, such as a gender or region.
SAMPLE FIGURES

Men

191

-48%

Women

209

-52%

 

 

 

Democrats

143

-36%

Republicans

93

-23%

Independents/Other

164

-41%

 

 

 

North

255

-64%

South

145

-36%

GOVERNOR’S RACE
I am going to list the names of a few individuals who are active in public life. After I mention each one, I would simply like for you to tell me if you recognize that individual. If you do recognize the individual, I will then ask you if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of that individual.
A. The first name is ________. Do you recognize that name?
B. (IF YES) Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of ______?

 

FAV

UNFAV

NO OPINION

Brian Dubie

46%

33%

21%

Deb Markowitz

48%

28%

24%

Anthony Pollina

38%

31%

31%

Doug Racine

38%

30%

32%

Peter Shumlin

33%

21%

46%

Matt Dunne

34%

19%

47%

Susan Bartlett

26%

11%

63

QUESTION: If the election for Governor were held today, who would you vote for if the choices were between Deb Markowitz, the Democrat, and Brian Dubie, the Republican?

 

MARKOWITZ

DUBIE

 UNDECIDED

 

 

 

 

ALL

43%

41%

16%

 

 

 

 

MEN

40%

45%

15%

WOMEN

46%

37%

17%

 

 

 

 

DEMOCRATS

63%

12%

25%

REPUBLICANS

10%

82%

8%

INDEPENDENTS

45%

43%

12%

 

 

 

 

NORTH

41%

43%

16%

SOUTH

47%

36%

17%

QUESTION: If the election for Governor were held today, who would you vote for if the choices were between Doug Racine, the Democrat, and Brian Dubie, the Republican?

 

DUBIE

RACINE

 UNDECIDED

 

 

 

 

ALL

43%

38%

19%

 

 

 

 

MEN

47%

34%

19%

WOMEN

39%

42%

19%

 

 

 

 

DEMOCRATS

14%

59%

27%

REPUBLICANS

83%

7%

10%

INDEPENDENTS

46%

37%

17%

 

 

 

 

NORTH

46%

35%

19%

SOUTH

38%

43%

19%

QUESTION: If the election for Governor were held today, who would you vote for if the choices were between Peter Shumlin, the Democrat, and Brian Dubie, the Republican?

 

DUBIE

SHUMLIN

 UNDECIDED

 

 

 

 

ALL

45%

35%

20%

 

 

 

 

MEN

49%

32%

19%

WOMEN

41%

38%

21%

 

 

 

 

DEMOCRATS

15%

55%

30%

REPUBLICANS

84%

6%

10%

INDEPENDENTS

49%

34%

17%

 

 

 

 

NORTH

48%

32%

20%

SOUTH

40%

40%

20%

QUESTION: If the election for Governor were held today, who would you vote for if the choices were between Matt Dunne, the Democrat, and Brian Dubie, the Republican?

 

DUBIE

DUNNE

UNDECIDED

 

 

 

 

ALL

44%

36%

20%

 

 

 

 

MEN

48%

33%

19%

WOMEN

40%

39%

21%

 

 

 

 

DEMOCRATS

14%

57%

29%

REPUBLICANS

83%

6%

11%

INDEPENDENTS

48%

35%

17%

 

 

 

 

NORTH

47%

33%

20%

SOUTH

39%

41%

20%

QUESTION: If the election for Governor were held today, who would you vote for if the choices were between Susan Bartlett, the Democrat, and Brian Dubie, the Republican?

 

DUBIE

BARTLETT

UNDECIDED

 

 

 

 

ALL

48%

30%

22%

 

 

 

 

MEN

53%

26%

21%

WOMEN

43%

34%

23%

 

 

 

 

DEMOCRATS

16%

48%

36%

REPUBLICANS

85%

5%

10%

INDEPENDENTS

55%

29%

16%

 

 

 

 

NORTH

51%

26%

23%

SOUTH

43%

37%

20%

GOVERNOR RACE WITH POLLINA
QUESTION: If the election for Governor were held today, who would you vote for if the choices were between Deb Markowitz, the Democrat, Brian Dubie, the Republican, and Anthony Pollina, the Progressive Party candidate?

 

DUBIE

MARKOWITZ

POLLINA

UNDECIDED

ALL

37%

35%

11%

17%

 

 

 

 

 

MEN

39%

31%

15%

15%

WOMEN

35%

39%

7%

19%

 

 

 

 

 

DEMOCRATS

8%

55%

12%

25%

REPUBLICANS

81%

7%

6%

6%

INDEPENDENTS

37%

33%

14%

16%

 

 

 

 

 

NORTH

42%

32%

9%

17%

SOUTH

29%

40%

15%

16%

QUESTION: If the election for Governor were held today, who would you vote for if the choices were between Doug Racine, the Democrat, Brian Dubie, the Republican, and Anthony Pollina, the Progressive Party candidate?

 

DUBIE

RACINE

POLLINA

UNDECIDED

ALL

38%

32%

12%

18%

 

 

 

 

 

MEN

41%

28%

16%

15%

WOMEN

35%

36%

8%

21%

 

 

 

 

 

DEMOCRATS

9%

54%

18%

19%

REPUBLICANS

82%

6%

5%

7%

INDEPENDENTS

38%

27%

11%

24%

 

 

 

 

 

NORTH

43%

29%

9%

19%

SOUTH

28%

37%

18%

17%

QUESTION: If the election for Governor were held today, who would you vote for if the choices were between Peter Shumlin, the Democrat, Brian Dubie, the Republican, and Anthony Pollina, the Progressive Party candidate?

 
DUBIE
RACINE
POLLINA

UNDECIDED

ALL

39%

31%

12%

18%

 

 

 

 

 

MEN

43%

27%

16%

14%

WOMEN

35%

35%

8%

22%

 

 

 

 

 

DEMOCRATS

9%

54%

18%

19%

REPUBLICANS

83%

5%

5%

7%

INDEPENDENTS

40%

26%

11%

23%

 

 

 

 

 

NORTH

45%

28%

9%

18%

SOUTH

28%

36%

18%

18%

QUESTION: If the election for Governor were held today, who would you vote for if the choices were between Matt Dunne, the Democrat, Brian Dubie, the Republican, and Anthony Pollina, the Progressive Party candidate?

 

DUBIE

DUNNE

POLLINA

UNDECIDED

ALL

38%

31%

12%

19%

 

 

 

 

 

MEN

43%

26%

16%

15%

WOMEN

33%

36%

8%

23%

 

 

 

 

 

DEMOCRATS

8%

54%

18%

20%

REPUBLICANS

84%

5%

5%

6%

INDEPENDENTS

38%

26%

11%

25%

 

 

 

 

 

NORTH

43%

28%

9%

20%

SOUTH

28%

36%

18%

18%

QUESTION: If the election for Governor were held today, who would you vote for if the choices were between Susan Bartlett, the Democrat, Brian Dubie, the Republican, and Anthony Pollina, the Progressive Party candidate?

 

DUBIE

BARTLETT

POLLINA

UNDECIDED

ALL

44%

26%

13%

17%

 

 

 

 

 

MEN

48%

19%

17%

16%

WOMEN

40%

33%

9%

18%

 

 

 

 

 

DEMOCRATS

12%

48%

20%

20%

REPUBLICANS

85%

4%

5%

6%

INDEPENDENTS

48%

19%

12%

21%

 

 

 

 

 

NORTH

51%

23%

10%

16%

SOUTH

32%

31%

19%

18%