A poll released recently by Vermont Public Radio and Vermont PBS shows Republican Gov. Phil Scott with a strong lead over Democratic challenger Christine Hallquist.

From almost 500 respondents, 42 percent said they would vote for Scott compared to 28 percent for Hallquist.

Two Independent candidates, Cris Ericson and Charles Laramie, Liberty Union candidate Emily Peyton, and Earth Rights candidate Stephen Mars each got support from 1 percent of those surveyed.

In the poll, 22 percent, or almost the same percentage that supported Hallquist, said they were not sure or had no opinion about the gubernatorial race.

Scott wasn’t the only leading incumbent in the poll. His advantage of 14 percentage points over Hallquist was almost mirrored in the question of support for lieutenant governor. The poll showed 47 percent would support incumbent David Zuckerman, running as a Democrat and Progressive, while 30 percent said they would support Don Turner, who is running as a Republican.

The poll results, collected by phone between Oct. 5 and 14, showed Sen. Bernie Sanders with a strong lead. Responding to the question of who the voter would support if the election was held that day, Sanders had 60 percent support while his closest competition in the poll, Lawrence Zupan, who is running as a Republican, was chosen by 19 percent of those surveyed.

Rep. Peter Welch was supported by 55 percent of those surveyed. His closest competitor, Anya Tynio, running as a Republican, got 18 percent approval. Those respondents who weren’t sure or had no opinion accounted for 20 percent of those surveyed.

The survey went beyond candidates for office.

Asked whether they approved or disapproved of the way Donald Trump is handling the office of president and Scott is handling his role as governor, 59 percent of a pool of about 600 voters disapproved of Trump and 24 percent approved, while 45 percent approved of Scott and 26 percent disapproved.

In those two questions, 28 percent were not sure or had no opinion about Scott while half that percentage, 14 percent, were not sure or had no opinion about Trump.

Other questions in the survey delved into racial justice, sexual harassment and the costs associated with living life as a Vermonter.

Asked about how big a problem racism presents in Vermont, 17 percent said it was a big problem while 16 percent said it was not a problem at all.

The percentage of people who said they had not seen or experienced sexual harassment in the workplace in Vermont, 70 percent, is more than two and a half times more than those who said they had, which was 26 percent.

When asked what was the biggest single factor that makes life challenging economically in Vermont, 32 percent said housing costs. The next highest percentage was taxes at 18 percent and health care and prescriptions at 15 percent.

The poll was created by VPR and Vermont PBS but executed by Castleton University professor Rich Clark, who was the founding director of the Polling Institute at the university.

Clark said the survey was created with input from VPR and Vermont PBS with the understanding that the questions about the candidate races would be “primary” among the questions.

“Everyone always wants to ask more than there is room for. I worked with them and we found a way to whittle it down,” he said.

Clark has been doing polling for about 20 years. Since 2011, when he arrived at Castleton, he’s been looking at the opinions of Vermonters.

Given his time in the business, Clark, who said he’s frequently asked if he was surprised by the results of a particular poll, said there was nothing in the results of the October poll he found particularly surprising.

The full poll results can be found online at bit.ly/1026VPRPoll



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