New poll finds Scott, Zuckerman hold double-digit leads

Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 6:21 PM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Gov. Phil Scott is the favorite heading into the November election and he gets a lot of support from Democrats. But his Democratic challenger has gained ground in the race for the state’s top office. That’s according to a new poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire for WCAX News.

The competitive August primaries gathered the bulk of the attention and the fundraising, now but we’re taking a look at the races for the state’s top two jobs in the general election.

November is in sight and races up and down the ballot are heating up.

Incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Scott continues to hold a double-digit lead over his Democratic challenger, Brenda Siegel. However, Siegel is closing the gap from a July poll which showed her receiving 16% of the vote. If the election were held today, she would receive 31%.

Among prospective voters, 48% said they would cast their vote for Scott compared to 31% for Siegel; 13% are undecided.

“Especially in a blue state Vermont is part of the way that you can keep getting reelected as a Republican is to have a significant number of Democrats to come out and vote for you,” said Zach Azem of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.

Scott’s 48% of the vote is less than his 52% favorability rating. Compare that to Siegel’s 23%. Some 41% of voters don’t know enough about her to have an opinion.

Political observers say the slight difference in Scott’s polling versus approval rating can be chalked up to partisanship.

“It influences how people are going to cast their ballots,” Middlebury College Political Scientist Matt Dickinson said.

In the race for lieutenant governor, two longtime Statehouse fixtures-- Progressive Democrat David Zuckerman and Republican Joe Benning are going head to head

Zuckerman leads Benning by 16 percentage points-- 51% to Benning’s 35%; 12% of voters are undecided.

“I’m not predicting that Zuckerman is in trouble but this is a race worth paying attention to,” Dickinson said.

Voters’ favorability of Zuckerman is split, 34% of voters have a favorable and unfavorable view of the former lieutenant governor.

About half of voters say they don’t have enough information about Benning to say.

“He’s doing what he needs to do to stay in this race in terms of getting Republican support, however that being said, he needs to bolster his support of independents and eat into that Democratic vote,” Azem said.

Analysts say Siegel and Benning still have time to get their names out there to voters. There are still five weeks until Election Day and analysts say anything can happen.

“They seem to me that the polling is consistent with the expectations of where they would stand,” Dickinson said.

Some 765 Vermonters completed the online survey between Sept. 29 and Oct. 3. The margin of error is 3.5%. Click here for the results from that UNH poll.

Click here for the technical report.