MONTPELIER — Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott has the highest name recognition and favorability among Vermont voters so far in the race for governor, according to a new poll from the Castleton Polling Institute.
According to the poll results, released Monday morning, Scott, who is in his third term as lieutenant governor, is known by 77 percent of Vermonters. Scott Milne, who is not a candidate for governor at this point but was the GOP nominee in 2014, is known by 73 percent of Vermonters.
“Obviously, it’s good news for me, but it also highlights the fact that we have our work cut out for us to reach the 23 percent that have no idea who I am,” Scott said. “I have never taken for granted name recognition in the state, and I think that many do. You have have your work cut out for you to reach Vermonters in different forms.”
He said the poll’s results are what he expected.
“I guess I’m not surprised. It seems fairly close, actually, with the others. I have a little bit of a gap, but that can be quickly closed by the others,” Scott said.
Former Wall Street executive Bruce Lisman, a Republican candidate and founder of the advocacy group Campaign for Vermont, has the lowest name recognition of all five declared gubernatorial candidates at 21 percent.
However, Castleton Polling Institute Director Rich Clark said Lisman declared his candidacy while the poll was in the field. Before declaring his candidacy 16 percent of respondents recognized his name. After his announcement his name recognition jumped to 26 percent, leaving a 21 percent overall average.
House Speaker Shap Smith has the highest name recognition of all three Democrats in the race at 61 percent. Matt Dunne, a Google executive and former state senator from Windham County, follows at 57 percent. Dunne has previously run for both governor and lieutenant governor.
Former Agency of Transportation Secretary Sue Minter, who resigned last week to run for governor, is known by 38 percent of Vermonters. Minter declared her candidacy late in the poll, according to Clark, and most of the data was collected before her announcement.
Scott also has the highest favorability rating of all five declared candidates. The poll found that 30 percent of Vermonters view Scott “very favorably,” while 40 percent view him “somewhat favorably.” Just 9 percent view him somewhat unfavorably or very unfavorably.
Smith is second with 20 percent viewing him very favorably and 32 percent viewing him somewhat favorably. Smith is viewed unfavorably by 27 percent of Vermonters, including 16 percent very unfavorably.
Dunne is viewed very favorably by just 8 percent, while 31 percent view him somewhat favorably. The poll found that 19 percent view him either very unfavorably or somewhat unfavorably.
Minter had a 16 percent very favorably rating and a 23 percent somewhat favorable rating, while 13 percent view her either very unfavorably or somewhat unfavorably.
Lisman is viewed very favorably by 10 percent and somewhat favorably by 26 percent. A total of 23 percent view Lisman unfavorably, including 18 percent somewhat unfavorably.
The poll includes 617 respondents by both cell phone and landline and has a margin of error of 4 percent, according to Clark. The poll was conducted between Aug. 24 and Sept. 14.
The poll also queried Vermonters about Randy Brock, the GOP’s 2012 nominee for governor, Scott Milne, the GOP’s 2014 nominee, and Republican Rep. Heidi Scheuermann of Stowe, but none of the three have said they will run for governor or any other statewide office.
This story will be updated.