You Can Quote Me -- February 21, 2010 -- Political Scientist Eric Davis joins Kristin Carlson and Darren Perron to discuss the results of a new Channel 3 News poll.
From Vermont's most trusted news source, WCAX brings you your news makers, your neighbors.
This is you can quote me.
Good morning everyone. I'm Darren Perron. And I'm Kristin Carlson.
Our news make they are Sunday morning is political scientist Eric Davis.
He will break down the numbers in a new channel 3 news poll as we look at the race for governor and other topics on the minds of Vermonters including the future of the state's only nuclear powerplant.
From will have your neighbors in the news.
Burke mountain academy cranked out Olympic athletes.
Take you on a daring ice climb and build a beach bonfire in the middle of winter.
Brownieles for a throw‑down and a lesson on wildlife.
We will explain.
>> But first our news maker is political scientist Eric Davis.
He does political analysis for us.
Used to teach at Middlebury college and now tracks all of the big political developments and is here to talk about very interesting poll numbers.
Thanks so much for being here.
>> Good morning, Kristin
>> Let's start first with the governor's race.
We have five democrats who are vying for the primary to win the chance to take on Republican governor Brian Dubie.
As we talk about the poll results let's look at the results and so far it looks like markowitz has a slight lead over the other candidates.
>> What I take away from the results from this governor's poll, Kristin is that how the democrats do is very much related to how well known they are.
Deb markowitz is the best known of the five democratic candidates.
Doug Racine only slightly less well known.
Three of the candidates, Shumlin, Dunne and Bartlett, still have a fairly large number of people who aren't able to rank them positively or negatively.
Markowitz has a slight lead over Dubie but within the margin of error.
As the campaign progresses over the course of the spring and summer, leading up to the primary which will be either in August or September.
These democrats candidates will get better known.
So, as the other democrats join markowitz as being better known candidates, will the gap between Dubie and these other democrats start to Nair owe as the over democrats get better known as primary day gets closer?
I believe it will.
>> What do you think the five democrats need to do to stand out here?
>> What the democrats need to do, all five of them, is they need to use the primary campaign as a way of introducing themselves to the voters, get ‑‑ provide an opportunity for voters to get them to know better, make the argument why this should be a change in the party controlling the executive branch in Montpelier, and do all that of in a way that avoids attacks on each other.
Because the last thing the democratic party needs is a primary that degenerates into a slug fest with negative campaigning.
To date the democratic campaign has been very positive and oriented on issues and I believe it will remain that way through the primary.
>> So right now most of the democrats, they are all in it.
It is showing to be a very tight race for the Republican Brian Dubie, when you take into account the polls, 5‑point margin of error we polled likely voters and teamed up, when you take in the 5‑point margin, Dubie is neck and neck or beats everyone.
Should he be pleased at this point or still have some room here to worry?
>> Dubie has to ‑‑ it is a mixed message for the Lieutenant Governor I would say.
On the one hand he is ahead of four of the five candidates in trial heat matchups.
But he does not break 50% in any of those trial heats and his approval rating also does gnat break 50%.
For someone who has been in office for 8 years, four terms as Lieutenant Governor, not to break that 50% threshold, against in some cases relatively unknown democratic candidates, does raise some concerns, I believe, for the long‑term prospects of the Dubie campaign.
You couple that with something maybe we will be talking about later which that is here in Vermont at the least, the democratic party, president Obama seem to be more popular than they are nationwide.
So, a democratic trend seems to be stronger in Vermont than in much of the rest of the nation.
So Dubie will have to fight that between now and November.
>> The poll did not ask what Vermonters would think about the five democrats head to head with each other.
It is very difficult to identify that 60, 70, 80 thousand voters will vote in the primary.
Any way to extrapolate what that means for the primary?
those voters will be looking for something much different than the general election voters.
>> What I would say is candidates will take different things out of this for the primary.
Markowitz will try to make the argument to primary voters that this poll shows she would be the strongest general election candidate against Brian Dubie.
Peter Shumlin might take another thing.
Strong opposition to Vermont Yankee.
Manage Vermont is all across the state.
So Shumlin might use what he would say has been his leadership role on the Vermont Yankee issue as a way of gaining traction in the primary.
Two candidates Matt Dunne and Susan Bartlett, the least well known of the five democrats, there is a lot of opportunity for them.
They ‑‑ they have a lot of opportunity to increase their vote share because if you look at the net of positive to negative approval, disapproval in one question in the poll, markowitz did the best there.
she had I believe a plus 20 gap between those who approved of her and those who disapproved of her.
But both Matt Dunne and Susan Bartlett were around 15% which indicates while those two aren't all that well known, the people who do know them tend to like them pretty strongly.
So if Dunne and Bartlett can get better known around the state, it is likely that they will move up in the races ‑‑ in the trial heats against Dubie.
>> But still a lot to be decided.
A lot will change between now and November.
Let's move on to another question we asked Vermonters which was do you think Vermont Yankee should get another 20‑year extension to operate in Vermont.
Half of Vermonters, 49%, said they did not think Yankee should continue to operate past 2012.
a very key time for the plant right now with the senate set to vote on Wednesday.
How do you think to will impact the debate?
>> It might lead some senators who are on the march jip to vote against a rely sensing bill.
Although I expect that most legislators are going to make up their minds on the rely sensing issue based on the information that has been discussed in Montpelier over the last two years, not on the basis of a poll.
It would indicate that if the senate does end up voting by a substantial margin against the rely sensing bill next week, that that outcome would be consistent of the preferences of Vermonters.
How I read the Vermont Yankee results, coupled with the results on some of the other questions Vermonters don't want a new powerplant at the Vermont Yankee site this.
don't want nuclear to be part of Vermont's knowledge mix.
Are willing to pay more for electricity if it means no nuclear is part of the energy mix.
What I read all of these questions is saying is that Vermonters are telling state government policy makers an the the utilities in Vermont, let's not spend the next two years arguing about rely sensing Vermont Yankee.
Seem to have made up their minds on that issue.
Let's spend the next two years talking about moving toward a new energy economy in jot jot ‑‑ Vermont.
What are the sources that we are going to turn to do get that 1/369 state's power that now comes from Yankee.
To the focused on the future, the post Yankee energy, economy rather than arguing over Yankee for two more years.
>> Let's move on to the the president now.
We also asked Vermonters if they approve or disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing as president.
4%, not sure.
>> This is one of the most interesting findings of the poll for me.
Because the whole series of national polls that have been taken in the last month or so, indicate that nationally, president Obama's approval, disapproval ratings are just about even.
About 50 percent of Americans approve of hit performance in office.
About 50% disapprove.
Here in Vermont, he is approved by a margin of about 2 to 1.
Nationally, Obama's approvable rating is considerably lower than what his vote share was on election day in November of 2008.
Here in Vermont, his approval rating is just about the same as the percentage he got on election day in 2008.
So, if the country has reservations about Barack Obama after one year in office, Vermont certainly doesn't.
Indeed, would I venture to say but Vermont may be the state where Obama has the strongest support in the country right now.
>> Strongest support for the president but how did Vermonters view the job Congress is doing.
We asked again approve or disapprove.
At this poll the point here of 36% approve and 58% disapprove.
>> Well, Vermonters are like the country in that a majority of them days prove of the performance of Congress but the magnitude.
disapproval, again, is considerably less here in Vermont than it is nationally.
The national polls indicate that Congress's approval rating is somewhere between 15 and 20%.
Here in Vermont, it is between 30 and 40%.
>> Almost double.
>> It is almost double.
now it may be that since Vermonters relatively small state, voters feel closer to their legislative delegation, the three individuals who represent Vermont in Congress right now.
Than voters from larger states.
But more importantly I believe that since there does seem to be this ‑‑ this pro Obama, would I say pro democratic trend among the Vermont electorate, that there are more people who are favorably disposed toward Congress in Vermont than there are nationally.
Now it is not a majority of Vermonters by any means and again notice that disconnect between president Obama's approval rating and the congressional approval rating Obama is approved by well over 60% of Vermonters.
To 30% viewer Vermonters approve of Congress.
So you see that gap.
Both numbers are larger than the national members.
But the negative attitude of the gap between Congress' approval and Obama's approval is roughly the same here in Vermont as it is nationally.
>> Let's focus in on what Vermonters think about Vermont's congressional delegation.
We did not ask individually what they thought about senator sanders, Leahy.
We asked them as a whole how do you think Vermont's congressional delegation is doing.
45% approve of the job they are doing and 44% disapprove.
P which surprised some people because I think they think of the delegation as being very popular here in Vermont.
>> And that's the ‑‑ the difference between asking about the delegation generically and ask about three individuals.
Patrick Leahy, Bernie Sanders and Peter Welch.
>> Sometimes they can pull in ‑‑
>> Sometimes they poll in the 60 to 70% range and the two will be on the ballot this year, Leahy and Welch, are I think at this point, most observers would say are strong favorites for re‑election.
It may be that they are just using the generic word Congress rubs people the wrong way as opposed to names of the individuals.
Again though there is some evidence that voters in smaller states sometimes ‑‑ I mean the more Vermonters approve of the congressional delegation than approve.
Congress as a whole.
And that is a phenomenon that is found in small states across the country, that voters in the smaller states do tend to feel somewhat closer to their representatives and senators.
>> What do you make of the lag of between how Vermonters view Obama which 2/3 say he is doing a great job and the fact that less than half think that Vermont's congressional delegation is doing a great job
>> Hard to say what the reason for that is.
Is it because of specific issues, is it because the individuals in the Vermont delegation as seen as part of a larger congressional problem, that you know we ‑‑ you didn't poll about Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid but again, national play their popularity runs far far below president Obama's.
So it is all of those things going together.
But what ‑‑ what I ‑‑ what I would come back to is that although Congress is in trouble in Vermont, the level of disapproval of Congress in Vermont does not as overwhelmingly high as these national polls show.
>> And, again, Vermont seems to be bucking this trend when it comes to how they view president Obama's job performance.
>> That's right.
Now it may be that there weren't more people in Vermont who think of themselves as democrats.
Going back to Obama's job performance isn't only the democrats.
One of the interesting things for me in this poll is that a majority of independents in Vermont approve of Obama's performance and independents make up about 40% or so of this sample.
And again, that is very different from nationally.
Nationally Obama's problems are doing ‑‑ are due in many respects to his loss of support among independents over the past 6 months.
And that's been seeing not just in national polls but in polls in some of the key swing states such as New Hampshire.
Fewer than 40 percent of independents in New Hampshire current lay prove of president Obama's performance.
So he has been able to buck those tides in Vermont the.
It may be that there is something unique about the political culture and ideological predispositions of Vermonters that make them more supporters of democrats, of president who came into office with a big agenda and for expansion of government's role.
>> Bringing it back to the state level here, looking at the governor's race that is going to be an exciting race for sure.
And it seems like a lot of Vermonters haven't made up their minds.
>> A lot of Vermonters haven't made up their mind and the governor's race will be the marquee race of this year' election season.
Yes senator Leahy and Congressman Welch will be on the ballot above governor the way the ballot is laid out on the page.
But the governor's race will be the competitive race.
There will be a lot of media attention on the governor's race.
It is the first time there will be a new governor in 8 years.
So, the open seat races for governor are always historically some of the most interesting in Vermont.
It also ‑‑ it also means that there is going to be a lot of out of state interest in this race on the part of the national political parties and Washington‑based interest groups.
Those organizations tend to get involved in gubernatorial races, in open seat races that are competitive.
And Vermont's gubernatorial race is going to meet both of those criterion.
So I expect that the democratic governor's association and the the Republican governor's association will both make substantial 6‑figure contributions to independent expenditure campaigns on behalf of their party's gubernatorial candidates and some Washington‑based interest groups may also get involved heavily in the race.
>> Just very quickly.
There are five democratic candidates H do you foresee anyone dropping out?
>> Not at this point.
I expect that those five will continue and the rails, among them, will become ‑‑ the shape of that race will become more apparent once the legislature adjourns and these five candidates really begin to devote almost all of their time campaigning between the end.
legislative session and the late summer, early fall primary date.
>> Well professor Davis we will have to leave it there.
I know we will continue to talk to you as this exciting political season hasn't started yet but will pick up its pace.
>> My pleasure.
>> Let's send it over to Darren.
>> Thank you.
Coming up, it takes skill, determination, and courage.
For ice climbing in smuggler's notch after the break.
>> As the winter games continue in Vancouver, a small Vermont community is busy crank was out future Olympic athletes.
Burke mountain academy is considered a training ground for those going for gold.
Seth takes us there.
>> Welcome to Burke mountain academy.
Where every day is a snow day.
Students spend the morning on the slopes.
And in the afternoon, in class.
>> Any questions?
Number 2 on home work.
>> There is a pretty strict schedule.
We do have some free time but you wake up in the morning around 7:00.
>> Have breakfast and then head out to the hill.
>> We head out and train.
Until you know like 8 o'clock to maybe 11:45.
And then we have lunch and it its classes all afternoon.
>> It is not for the faint‑hearted.
And it is a challenge.
But if you want to be a ski racer and your passion is skiing the kids love the hard work.
>> And the hard work usually pays off.
A Burke mountain academy student has competed in every winter Olympics since the school opened in 1970.
That's over 50 Olympians.
Three this year alone.
Casey Puckett is competing in ski cross.
Nolan Kasper slalom and Liz Steven is on the Nordic team.
>> Remind me that they are not different than I am.
puts my head, keeps me head out of the clouds and able to really see where I am and how lucky I am.
It is really great to know that they were right where I am right now.
And this it is possible for me to make it there.
>> And it is possible we are watching the next Lindsey VONN, the Colorado native is the best 14 year old skier in North America.
>> I'm shooting for the 2014 Olympics.
I like to be on the World Cup.
It is just ‑‑ just be the best I can be as a skier
>> All of them have those dreams but the way they achieve their dreams is focused on the process, what it means every day, every week to just do their best.
>> People who are motivated together just ‑‑ they raise the bar for everybody else.
We really push each other and help each other out.
>> Just like living with a bunch of other athletes is a great experience.
Even if we are not doing the same sport the alpine skids can push the Nordic kids.
>> We are witnessing some of the best the world has to offer and who knows, you might be getting the first glimpse of the heroes of the 2014 Olympic games.
>> It is a cans to show as long as I work hard, yeah.
>> Anything is possible.
>> Olympic spirit alive and well in Vermont.
Seth Leavitt, channel 3 sports.
>> And coming up tomorrow at the games in Vancouver, Burke mountain's academy's Liz Steven will compete again.
In women's cross country.
On one of the coldest days this winter, Keagan harsha decided to brave the frigid weather to conquer his fear of heights.
>> On a cold January day when Vermont feels an all of like Siberia, a handful of Vermonters are in 7th Heaven.
The ice is just so pristine.
It is perfect.
>> Embracing winter close to 100 feet off the ground.
>> I really learned it at Yosemite and eventually doesn't phase you anymore.
>> But it is more than a winter playground.
For men py, a challenge and a police to overcome your fears.
Mile hands, arms were burning.
>> Which is why one of the physical thing learns about the sport that is ice climbers are tough and few are tougher than Bob.
>> Ripped my ear off last year.
But they stitched it back on and it is good to go.
>> For most of us ripping off an ear may be a big deal but he has bigger things to worry about.
He was diagnosed with a brain tumor ten years ago and has double vision in his left eye.
>> I have a spinal cord tumor which is basically sort of like a stroke.
Everything be on my left side is pretty much gone or is going.
>> He continues to climb despite not being able to use his left leg.
He pulls it up the ice thanks to a special loop on his boot.
>> It is pretty challenging, but you know, everybody that is out here has got to use tools in some fashion.
So this a perfect tune for me to just kind of develop the tools I need.
>> After hearing Bob's story, one can't help but be inspired, which is why I figured I'd give the sport a shot.
>> A hook.
So look for that.
>> Despite being absolutely terrified of heights.
>> Simple as that?
>> Simple as that.
>> Easy for him to say.
After a rough start I slowly worked my way up the ice one foot and one breath at a time.
>> After what seemed like an eternity I finally did make it.
The exhilaration hard to describe.
A new perspective on a sport I initially thought you had to be crazy to try.
It is winter fun in a winter paradise.
I'm not going to stop until they throw me out.
>> With a group of people you can't help but be inspired by.
Keaghan harsha, channel 3 news in smuggler's notch.
>> Well Keaghan could have probably used a fire to stay warm.
Jack Thurston found one on the beach?
>> If you really squint through all this wind‑whipped snow you can see the waves of lake Champlain.
Thursday's squall had me desperate for good news from Mike van Buren.
>> Mike you promised me that summer is coming?
>> I sure hope so.
>> He is the designer of the beach fire.
It is a pretty simple device.
Welded together and assembled in a business incubator space in south Burlington.
A yachting‑style tote bag holds a sturdy metal ring and tube that connect to a propane tank >> I think a lot of people like the idea of having a fire on the beach.
>> He buries the unit in beach sand, then lights a fire and turns on the gas.
A fire for those summer parties.
>> Can you roast marshmallows on this?
>> Just not in January?
>> Probably not right now.
>> Van Buren graduated from UVM with a mechanical engineering degree and worked for years in the fireplace industry.
Both for a trade association and in home heating design which is still his primary job.
>> Business was a little slow and we had some time.
>> So he started tinkering on a way to help a favorite nonprofit.
>> The haunted forest.
The the group wanted a quick way to start bonfires for its annual Halloween skits.
Van Buren made a propane rig so the volunteers could easily operate it outside.
>> I decided to take the idea and put it into a product.
>> The $180 beach fire was born just last year and has already been attracting customers in coastal communities.
Even getting picked up by a few big hearth and fireplace retailers.
>> These burners are nice and clean.
Once you are done burning, you can take it out of the sand.
There is no mess left.
It doesn't hurt the sand.
>> It is working though, despite the snow squall.
>> Despite this 40 mile an hour wind.
It is staying lit.
>> Mike van Buren will spend this winter preparing stock for what he hopes is a busy spring and summer.
Of customers planning their beach outings.
>> I will come see you in July I think
>>> Let's do that.
let's do that.
I would like that a lot.
>> Better weather, to enjoy his creation that's made in Vermont.
>> My hope is that I can keep manufacturing here.
>> Jack Thurston, channel 3 news in burg ‑‑ Burlington.
>> Another Burlington company was in a spotlight when a top chef tried to outbreak local brownie makers.
Bianca takes us to the throw‑down.
>> SHONa and Kathryn gathered their close friends and family around several TV's Tuesday night to watch throw‑down with Bobby flay on the food network.
An episode featuring their business.
>> We are actually not sure how they found us.
>> In August the women got a call from a food network producer informing them they were interested in doing a show.
They didn't know they would be going head to head with professional chef Bobby flay until they arrived for the taping at balance be urn farms.
>> I went it's Bobby flay and Kathryn was like who is this guy?
>> Neither of the women had ever seen the show before so they just focused on what they needed to do.
Which was bake their one of a kind goat cheese brownies.
>> Neither one of us is a professional baker.
Baking is a little awkward.
But to do it for television when they are saying hold it up like this and scrape it like this.
we are going okay but this isn't really how we do it.
>> Then came the the judging.
They were not confident with the judge's reaction.
>> Quite frankly it didn't look like it was going well.
We were like it is's okay.
We'll be fine.
Life will go on
>> But to their surprise ‑‑
>> Vermont brownie company is relatively new.
Hitting the market in September of 2008.
And just the past few weeks they hired 20 part‑time employees and spent the last few days prepping for the aftermath of the show.
>> So we are just working around the clock to hopefully have enough in reserve that we have already baked and that to be able to keep up with it when the orders start coming in.
>> When they are nervous this morning, they are both extremely excited about what this means for the future of Vermont brownie company.
And they are hoping their national television debut will lead to national sales of their brownies.
>> You probably recognized SHONa.
She used to be a sports anchor right here at channel 3.
Most of us eat brownies, but Sharon mire found a way to use the dessert to teach kids about wildlife and got some help from our naturalist, Bridget Butler.
>> So even if it is snowing you still got to get out in the wintertime
>> You do.
one of the best things to look at when you out and about in the snow, are for animal tracks and signs.
So this could be footprints but it can also be scat.
>> We lost a lost snow recently
>> We D so you got to look for traces too and scat is a good thing to look for.
>> You will teach us how to ‑‑
>> I am.
A really good activity to do with kids who identify scat by shape.
I have delicious yummie brownies.
Mushing them into little tiny balls teaches what we will do right now.
we will try to make rabbit scat and is round
>> Kids will love that.
>> But not all that big.
I have too much.
>> All right.
>> Is that too big?
>> That's pretty good.
>> That is like moose scat size.
You want to think rabbit.
Now if we wanted to go to deer we will just squeeze that a little bit.
And make it an oval shape.
>> That's deer.
>> You can get really complex if you get a tracking book and you could get into fox scat which tends to be longer and twisted on the end.
And then you can make piles and piles of scat before you go out on your walk.
The best part is you get to eat it.
>> Eat it at the end.
>> It gets their attention too, doesn't it?
>> You hum.
>> Who knew you could learn so much from brownies.
>> It is brownies.
>> It is brownies.
>> Coming up this week on the channel 3 news at 6:00 a series of reports on Vermont Yankee.
What is next floor and a rare look inside.
that he this week at 6:00.
>> Until then take care everybody.
I'm Darren Perron.
>> I'm Kristin Carlson.