Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sanders safe for reelection

There have been rumblings that Bernie Sanders might draw a serious challenge next year from State Auditor and ex-Democrat Tom Salmon but our newest Vermont poll finds that Sanders is one of the most popular Senators in the country and wouldn't be vulnerable no matter who Republicans put up against him.

Sanders' approval rating is 67% with only 28% of voters disapproving of him. That +39 spread ranks him third in popularity out of 85 sitting Senators PPP has polled on, behind only Hawaii's Daniel Inouye (+46 at 69/23) and Wyoming's John Barrasso (+44 at 69/25). Sanders enjoys near universal popularity with Democrats (93/5), is extremely well liked by independents (68/25), and even has an unusually high level of crossover popularity with Republicans. 25% of them approve of him to 69% disapproving.

Salmon has been the most discussed potential challenger to Sanders next year. He is not terribly well known, with 47% of voters saying they don't know enough about him to have an opinion. He is viewed favorably among those who are familiar with him by a 30/23 margin. In a head to head he trails Sanders by 34 points at 62/28, facing a 41 point deficit with independents and losing 14% of the Republican vote while picking up only 5% of Democrats.

There are other Republicans who would come closer than Salmon, although none of them make it competitive. Former Governor Jim Douglas is very popular, with 56% of voters rating him favorably to 29% with a negative opinion. But he still trails Sanders by 18 points at 56-38. Last year's losing Republican nominee for Governor, Brian Dubie, is also pretty well liked at a 48/33 favorability spread. He nevertheless trails Sanders by 26 points at 60-34. And Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott, although a blank slate to 55% of voters, has an outstanding 33/12 breakdown with those who do have an opinion about him. He nevertheless finds himself down by 31 points at 61-30.

We also polled a trio of lesser known potential candidates- Mark Snelling, Randy Brock, and Thom Lauzon- whose name recognition falls into the 23-35% range. They all trail by even wider margins than Salmon- Brock and Snelling are each down 37 points and Lauzon's deficit is 39.

Bottom line: Bernie Sanders has nothing to worry about. There is a broader takeaway though- Vermont loves its politicians. There aren't a lot of states where 5 potential Senate challengers would all have positive favorability ratings yet still get trounced in head to heads because the incumbent is so transcendently popular. We've seen similar things in states like Wyoming and Delaware- smaller states just tend to be a lot more kind to their politicians than the bigger ones.

Full results here


Anonymous said...

Vermont is where all the nuts go. It's safe to say they would elect a nut.

Elaine said...

Are these people nuts? Do they realize Bernie Sanders is a self confessed Socialist. Or maybe just the entire state are all Socialists. Why didn't you mention that in your article? Are you trying to ignore it?

Cam said...

Do you guys even know what "socialist" means? Bernie Sanders is the only US Senator who consistently makes sense and it pays off in his approval ratings. Too bad more of his colleagues don't follow his lead.

Anonymous said...

Too bad, I wish the good citizens of Vermont would wake up and see what is going on in the state (and counrty) and elect responsible people instead of socialists.....

Anonymous said...

News flash, oh fellow Americans. The time is fast approaching when you won't be able to use the label "Socialist" as a pejorative anymore. You just got sold up the river by the two mainstream parties, as will become obvious to all but the most tea-addled citizens soon enough. Socialism is going to start looking mighty good before you know it. Even to you.

It doesn't matter if he's a Socialist, a Communist, or a Justin Bieber fan ... he happens to be the only politician who has YOUR interest at heart rather than the sarcastically-named "job-creating" rich.

Besides ... what do you call a Socialist in the Senate?

You call him "Senator."

Anonymous said...

Please....we are not all NUTS!! Unfortunately Bernie promises a chicken in every pot and folks are still buying it. The Sanderistas are a well oiled machine. I've seen his people rousting drunks and homeless folks up and driving them to the polls and I kid you not!

gnomony said...

Elaine, Shh! Please don't let the cat out of the bag! Vermonters have been re-electing Bernie for 30 years because his politics are a BIG SECRET. He NEVER says what's on his mind or takes a position on anything, so how would anyone know???

Naman said...

My dear Anonymous and Elaine:

There are other states that have elected nuts. Those nuts are Republicans.


Naman said...

Back to the poll though, not surprised by these results.

Bernie's been in politics a long time, having been the at-large representative for 16 years 'til 2007, and the mayor of Burlington before that. Obviously his Fili-bernie last year only cemented his image with Vermonters.

I imagine these Republican contenders would fare better in the gubernatorial race...but frankly, if Shumlin couldn't be beat in 2010, even less of a chance of him being beat in '12. We'll just have to wait and see your results though PPP!

I Am Iron Man said...

Vermont is awesome. If it weren't for it being a bit too cold for my tastes, I'd move there.

All of these idiot commenters and their "socialist" nonsense... man. Socialist isn't a bad word. It's a good thing to be a socialist.

Anonymous said...

Is it really surprising one of the few Senators that actually tries his best to represent the interests of the lower and middle classes would be well-liked?

Bernie still owns.

Anonymous said...

Why on Earth would you poll Vermont and not poll the Governor's race, aka the only possibly competitive race there will ever be in Vermont for the next 50 years?

99bonk said...

Bernie came to my village in Thetford for a breakfast meeting to discuss health care. There were many thoughtful questions and he gave detailed answers which made his position absolutely clear.
Bernie believes that "government FOR the people" does not mean "government for the benefit of fat cats only".

Anonymous said...

I am reading some of the comments bashing Senator Sanders as well as those who live in Vermont. What's interesting here is that Senator Sanders has been trying to raise the quality of life for every day people. And some still are afraid of him because he is "socialist". Senator Sanders wants to close some of the tax loopholes for the wealthiest people who enjoy copious amounts of tax breaks. He wants to see the middle class relieved of some of the tax burden they now carry. He does not like corporate welfare. He wants to see corporations carrying their fair share. Instead of being dolled out subsidies that are spent foolishly on perks for employees and the such. People like Senator Sanders because of how he cares about the every day person. He cares about every day people. He truly and deeply cares about people.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"Why on Earth would you poll Vermont and not poll the Governor's race, aka the only possibly competitive race there will ever be in Vermont for the next 50 years?"

Uh, we did, as you can see today. We release one set of results each day over the course of a week. That's how we always do it.

kestrel9000 said...

Anonymous said:

"I've seen his people rousting drunks and homeless folks up and driving them to the polls and I kid you not!"

Liar. You've seen no such thing. You're probably not IN Vermont, because if you were,you'd know there weren't enough of them in any one place to make the effort to round them up worth it.
where, exactly, did you see this and when?

Oh, excuse me. It's just that threadbare Republican fiction again.

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