Presidential picks: Who do Vermonters want to see on the ballot?

Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 6:12 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2022 at 6:14 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A majority of Vermonters don’t want to see President Biden seek reelection in 2024. That’s according to a new University of New Hampshire poll which experts say signals turbulent times for Democrats ahead of the midterm elections.

Vermont was the first state to be called for Joe Biden in the 2020 election. He gathered 66% of the vote compared to former President Trump’s 30%.

However, the new poll shows many Vermonters-- including a majority of Democrats-- think it’s time for a change.

Authors of the UNH poll confirms what some have suspected for weeks-- that President Biden’s sagging popularity may drag down Democrats in the midterm elections.

“Joe Biden is in a difficult position and, unfortunately, is weighing down Democratic prospects,” said Andrew Smith, the director of the UNH Survey Center.

The new poll shows President Biden has a 51% approval rating among Vermont voters.

When asked whether Biden should seek reelection in 2024, 68% of Vermonters polled say Biden should not run again, just 20% would like to see him on the ballot.

Biden’s prospects are low even among his supporters; 53% of Vermont Democrats do not want to see him run again in 2024. About 30% want to see him on the ballot and 17% are unsure.

“I think that’s an early warning that he could be vulnerable to an interparty challenge,” said Matt Dickinson, a political science professor at Middlebury College.

Pollsters say the declining support for President Biden could be a red flag for Democrats in the November midterms.

Smith said if Democrats lose their slim majorities in the House and Senate, “You’re going to see a lot of Democrats looking for a new standard bearer going into the 2024 elections.”

Still, some are supporting Biden.

“I think he is the safest choice, though, and I think that’s what we have to go with at the moment,” said Dillon Wilson of Barre.

But if not Biden, then who?

The UNH poll also shows Vermonters are not feeling “the Bern.” Nearly 70% of Vermonters who responded to the poll don’t want to see Sanders make another run for the White House.

“It makes you think that age is factoring in here in the responses of quite a few Vermonters,” Dickinson said.

So if not the 80-something Sanders or Biden, then who?

Many Vermonters we spoke with floated some names: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Vice President Kamala Harris and California Gov. Gavin Newsome.

But many we spoke with were frustrated with all of the choices and expressed distrust in politicians and the two-party system.

“I think the middle is just looking for any sort of identity but you have to fall to the left or the right; there is no space in the middle,” said one man who didn’t want to give his name.

Then there’s the question of who will challenge the Democratic candidate in 2024.

Vermonters are split on whether former President Donald Trump will make another run; 42% think Trump will clinch the nomination compared to 35% who think it may be someone else.

The poll also collected data on Vermont’s governor and lieutenant governor races. We’ll bring you those results later this week and leading up to the primaries on August 9.

Click here for the poll.

UNH Poll Sampling methods.

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