Poll gives Scott, Minter edge in primaries

MONTPELIER — Sue Minter has a slight edge over gubernatorial primary rival Matt Dunne, according to a new poll commissioned and released Thursday by Energy Independent Vermont.

The telephone poll of 600 Vermonters, which focuses on Vermonters’ opinions about climate change and efforts to combat it, also queried Vermonters’ on their choice for governor in both the Democratic and Republican Primaries.

Sue Minter

Sue Minter

On the Democratic side, Minter, a former secretary of the Agency of Transportation, garnered the support of 36 percent of those who said they planned to vote in the Democratic primary. Dunne, a former state senator and Google executive, tallied 31 percent support. Peter Galbraith, a former diplomat and state senator had 8 percent support. A large portion of respondents — 25 percent — remain undecided.

“We’re pleased with the results we saw this morning but we are even more excited about the response Sue has been getting all over the state. We feel the momentum everyday on the trail,” Minter campaign manager Molly Ritner said.

The survey of likely voters in the Democratic primary included 217 respondents and has a margin of error of 6.6 percent, meaning Minter’s lead in the poll falls within the margin of error.

In the Republican primary, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott has a healthy lead over Bruce Lisman, a former Wall Street executive. According to the results, Scott has the support of 68 percent of Republican primary voters while Lisman has 23 percent support. Just 9 percent remain undecided on the GOP side.

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott

The GOP sample size was just 171, with a margin of error of 7.5 percent.

The poll results were released at a State House news conference by Tom Hughes, campaign manager for Energy Independent Vermont, a coalition of environmental organizations, businesses and business associations, academic leaders, low-income advocates and town energy committees that advocate for addressing climate change and a carbon tax.

The poll, which was conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates between June 26 and 29, cost the group about $35,000.

Dunne campaign manager Nick Charyk, who attended the news conference Thursday, said the small sample size for the questions about Vermonters’ choices for governor makes the data unreliable.

“I don’t think it shows as much as it looks like on the surface, quite frankly. I’ve done a lot of work with pollsters. I’m very skeptical of the sample size of 217,” he said. “Candidly, if we were up, I suppose I’d be tempted to trumpet it, but that would be disingenuous.”

Charyk said the poll suggests the Democratic primary is “a close race” with “two very viable candidates.”

“I think drawing specific conclusions based on a sample size of 217 of voters who self-identify as Democratic primary voters, regardless of voter history, that’s just not a valid conclusion to draw. So, I don’t think we can draw much from this, unfortunately,” Charyk said.

A Castleton Polling Institute poll commissioned by Vermont Public Radio on the governor’s race is expected to be released in the coming weeks ahead of the Aug. 9 primary.

Energy Independent Vermont also released poll results gauging Vermonters’ opinions on climate change and ways to address it. According to some of the results released, 81 percent of Vermonters think global warming is occurring and 63 percent think that it is primarily caused by humans. Additionally, 70 percent said they are worried about global warming.

“Our finding was that eight out of 10 Vermonters think that global warming is happening. Only 15 percent of Vermonters don’t think global warming is happening,” Hughes said. “Large majorities of men and women, all age groups, all education levels and all income levels believe that global warming is happening in Vermont.”

“All Democrats, all independents and all Republicans, again, by large majorities, also believe that global warming is happening,” Hughes added.

The margin of error for the full sample size of 600 has a margin of error of 4 percent. Hughes said the poll also included several questions about “messaging” that EIV is not releasing.

neal.goswami@timesargus.com

Read the poll results below:

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