UNH poll shows Balint with dominant lead in congressional race
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The Vermont Democratic primary for Congress would not be close if the election was held today, according to a new political poll from the University of New Hampshire.
Just two weeks before the Vermont primary, we wanted to know where likely voters stand. Tonight, we are focusing on the races for U.S. Senate and House. The poll shows Vermont Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint with a 42 percentage point lead over Lieutenant Governor Molly Gray. As of now, 63% of likely Democratic voters would vote for Balint, 21% would vote for Gray, 2% would vote for physician Louis Meyers, and 13% are undecided.
“She has high name recognition and even with that name recognition she’s trailing her opponent,” Middlebury political science professor Matt Dickinson said of Gray’s polling. Additionally, voters hold a more favorable view of Balint compared to Gray -- 73% to 42%.
UNH pollster Andrew Smith cautions that summer primaries traditionally have lower attention and lower turnout and that there are still two weeks till the primary, with multiple forums and debates in the weeks ahead that could sway voters. “Things could turn around because low turnout elections in primaries are very challenging to try to predict,” Smith said.
In the Republican primary, Burlington accountant Ericka Redic, antiwar advocate Liam Madden, and Charleston consultant Anya Tynio are neck-and-neck, but close to 60% of GOP voters are undecided.
In the U.S. Senate race, Congressman Peter Welch is the clear leader with support from 82% of likely Democratic voters. Political newcomers Isaac Evans Frantz and Nikki Thran have 6% and 1%, respectively.
However, in the Republican senate primary it’s a closer race. Given the margin of error, veteran Gerald Malloy has the lead over former U.S Attorney Christina Nolan. But analysts note with the margin of error factored in, the race is essentially even.
More Vermonters know Nolan than Malloy, but 19% of Republican voters view her unfavorably. “That does not bode well in a primary when her opponent’s unfavorability ratings are virtually nonexistent. There are a lot of people who don’t know who Gerald Malloy is. Those who do, view him neutrally or in a positive manner,” Dickinson said.
The UNH poll also collected data on the governor, lieutenant governor, and presidential races. We’ll look closer at those numbers later this week and leading up to the primaries on August 9.
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