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Why experts are calling a new radio ad for Minter rare - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Why experts are calling a new radio ad for Minter rare

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

A new radio ad supports Sue Minter for governor and political experts call it rare.

That's because President Barack Obama is getting involved and not often does a sitting president endorse a governor in a small state like Vermont.

But 11 Democratic candidates across the country are airing ads featuring the president and Minter is the only Democrat running for governor in that group.

In a radio ad airing across Vermont, President Barack Obama endorses Democrat Sue Minter for governor.

Political experts say it's not uncommon for presidents to actively campaign for congressional candidates. But Obama's level of involvement in 2016 races is nearly unprecedented for a sitting president.

"It's historically, the exception, rather than the rule that the president is going to intervene in a down ballot race like governor of Vermont," said Matt Dickinson, political scientist.

But with the election 12 days away Middlebury professor Matt Dickinson, an expert in presidential politics, says the president's ad is unlikely to change many voters' minds.

"Where it might make a difference: turnout. You can mobilize the base a little bit. Most people have already made up their minds at this stage. There's very few truly undecided voters," said Dickinson.

Polls suggest the governor's race will be close. And turnout could be key to who wins the contest.

However, Republican analyst Mike Smith doubts the ad marks a turning point in the race.

"Of course bringing in Barack Obama helps her, but I don't think the voters decide based on who's doing your ads," said Smith.

But Democrats believe he's a powerful political weapon. Maggie Hassan's battle for the Senate in New Hampshire is buoyed by Obama's support.

The president's approval rating hovers near 58 percent in most polls which is higher than Ronald Reagan at this point in 1988 and on par with Bill Clinton in 2000.

But some presidents pass on helping their successors. Clinton gave his vice president Al Gore only a tepid endorsement in his race against George W. Bush. 

"Times are changing. The presidency, in an era of nationalized elections, might have a little more clout when you endorse," said Dickinson.

Our latest poll showed Republican Phil Scott leading Minter by seven points, but Minter is getting help from another high profile democrat, Senator Bernie Sanders will campaign with her Friday and Saturday.

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