Two years or four years?

There is some really interesting results contained in the Snelling Center for Government’s poll, released Tuesday, concerning boosting the terms of elected officials from two years to four years.

Now, many people outside of Montpelier’s political bubble see this question – which would require amending the Vermont Constitution – as rather dull.

But for the elected officials serving in these positions, it matters lots. And they have lots of opinions on it too, so much that it seems the state Democratic and Republican parties aren’t taken official positions yet.

But what do average Vermonters think?

Well, the Snelling Center did a poll of 400 Vermonters and broke the results down by political persuasion. Now, once sub-groups are broken out in a poll of this size, the margin of error increases and one could make the argument that some of the results are irrelevant (Vermonters who identified themselves as Progressives in the poll only totaled 12 for example).

About 64 percent of Republicans support boosting the governor’s term to four years, compared with 53 percent of Democrats, 70 percent of independents and 54 percent who labeled themselves as "other." But the results switch for Progressives as 58 percent said they opposed the idea.

The numbers are similar, although they seem to drop a bit, when it comes to the State Senate. About 54 percent of Republicans supported boosting state senators’ terms to four years. As for Democrats, 58 percent liked the idea, compared with 51 percent of independents and 52 percent of "others." Progressives again opposed this option, this time by 75 percent.

Similar numbers for the Vermont House too. About 61 percent of Republicans liked it, as did 54 percent of Democrats, 52 percent of independents and 50 percent of others. Progressives again did not like four year terms for state representatives, to the tune of 75 percent.

Now, again keep in mind the total number of Vermonters who responded to this poll. Of the 400 polled, Macro International, the company conducting the polling, received 358 responses. Republicans totaled 74 of the people who answered and there were 90 Democrats.

But the big numbers here were the independents and others. A whopping 141 Vermonters called themselves independents and another 41 said they were "other" – putting more than half the people who responded to the poll outside the membership of the state’s three top parties.

Interesting to think about.

-Dan Barlow

2 Responses to Two years or four years?

  1. Vermont Sued for “Unclean Elections”…
    Blazing Indiscretions has an excellent story about the National Clean Elections Lawsuit which was officially launched this week. All 50 states are being sued!
    While many towns in Vermont count the votes by hand, many do not. Currently, 94 towns will use Diebold AccuVote OS (optical-scan) machines in the next election representing more than 50% of the state’s registered voters.
    Vermonters, it’s time to wake up!!! These machines are just as prone to errors, malfunctions and software attacks as their infamous counterpart; the touchscreen voting machines.
    Read the Brennan Report if you don’t believe me, or just visit to review the most recent malfunctions that took place in actual elections. Some too close for comfort, like New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and the list goes on. *They use the same machines as us (Diebold AccuVote OS and the same programmer for the Diebold memory cards, LHS, Associates.)
    What really concerns me though is that we will most likely never know if malfunctions or miscounts happen in Vermont because we rarely audit the election results. (There has only been one audit since Vt started using these machines and I’d hardly call it an audit)
    Sure, we have paper ballots, but what’s the point of using them if they are never actually counted by hand or even audited for review.
    Ted Selker, Cal Tech/MIT Voting Technology Project, summed up my feelings best when he said, “A common practice for local election officials is to let election companies run their election – make up their ballot, set up their machines, and even count their tallies. This is a dangerous practice.”

    Mikhail Kryzhanovsky, “espionage genius”, the author of the “White House
    Special Handbook, or How to Rule the World in the 21st Century” is the
    U.S. president de facto since 1996.
    American presidents, Bill Clinton and now – George Bush, rule United States
    in strict accordance to his instructions. Do you know that ?