The results of an annual poll distributed at Vermont Town Meeting Day sessions have been released. Even the person who crafts the well-known survey admits it’s an unscientific assessment of Vermonters’ perspective on issues.
The ‘Doyle Poll’ started during Senator Bill Doyle’s early days in the legislature, long before any scientific polls were conducted in the state. Senator Bill Doyle, a Republican, began circulating his informal questionnaire 42 years ago to gauge Vermonters’ opinions on legislative issues.
In what has become an annual tradition, about 100 legislators take the survey to their town meetings so people can fill them out if they choose to do so. This year 13,998 Vermonters from 163 towns and cities responded. This week, Senator Doyle released the results.
Middlebury College Professor Emeritus of Political Science Eric Davis says the Doyle Poll provides some interesting information.
Seven Days is a popular weekly alternative newspaper based in Burlington. Political columnist Paul Heintz feels it’s more accurate to refer to Doyle’s questionnaire as a survey.
Heintz notes that while there is a new polling institute in the state, Senator Doyle does pinpoint the most prominent issues.
Middlebury College’s Eric Davis found the most intriguing response on the 14-question survey was whether the state’s gas tax should be increased to pay for roads and bridges. It was resoundingly rebuffed by voters, with 33 percent in favor and 56 percent opposed.
Paul Heintz agrees that the gas tax response was the most interesting.
The Doyle poll found that while 42 percent of respondents felt Governor Peter Shumlin is doing a good job, 33 percent said no, and 25 percent were uncertain.