VT-Gov: Douglas Leads

Cause for excitement: We have a poll in the Vermont governor's race! The poll shows Republican Gov. Jim Douglas at 48%, Democrat Gaye Symington at 33% and ...
by | September 18, 2008

Cause for excitement: We have a poll in the Vermont governor's race!

The poll shows Republican Gov. Jim Douglas at 48%, Democrat Gaye Symington at 33% and independent Anthony Pollina at 7%.

In any other state this would be unequivocally good news for Douglas. In Vermont, though, if no gubernatorial candidate makes it past 50%, the election is thrown into the state House of Representatives.

With 12% still undecided, Douglas isn't in bad shape, but there's a realistic chance state legislators will be deciding this one. I'd love to know whether those voters are undecided between Douglas and Symington or between Symington and Pollina.

The best news for Douglas is that it looks increasingly likely that he will be the candidate who gets the most votes, which, from a public relations standpoint, would put him in an excellent position to win a vote in the House (despite the large Democratic majority).

Not only does Douglas have a 15-point lead, but Pollina has won the endorsements of three major unions: the state AFL-CIO, the state chapter of the National Education Association and the Vermont State Employee Association. In other words, Pollina isn't going to fade away into insignificance. He's likely to take a lot of votes that might otherwise go to Symington.

But that dynamic is exactly why state representatives could have a tough time deciding who to vote for if the election does end up in their hands. You can make a case that Pollina and Symington voters form an anti-Douglas coalition. So, if Douglas takes the most votes, but Symington and Pollina's totals combined are higher than Douglas', it's not clear whether the will of the people would be on the side of Douglas or Symington.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com  | 

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