Statewide public opinion survey shows widespread concern over economy, future of small businesses
Vermont Business Magazine Vermont residents support a mask mandate, the Black Lives Matter movement and the leadership of Governor Phil Scott and are concerned (93%) over the future of small businesses in the state. Those are four of the big takeaways from a joint statewide poll released today by Vermont PBS and Vermont Public Radio.
The poll examined Vermonters’ views on the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, recent protests over racial inequality, and the economy. The phone poll of 603 registered voters was conducted by Braun Research Inc, of Princeton, N.J. and overseen by Rich Clark, professor of political science at Castleton University and the former director of the Castleton Polling Institute. It took place from July 15 to 28. It has an overall margin of error of 4%.
Vermonters were split on whether the public schools should reopen and whether colleges should resume in-person instruction:
"Given the current state of the pandemic, do you favor or oppose re-opening K-12 schools this coming fall?" 47% Favor, 42% Oppose.
"Given the current state of the pandemic, do you favor or oppose Vermont universities and colleges letting students come back to campus?" 44% Favor, 50% Oppose.
Also, by a wide 2-1 margin, respondents said they would rather raise taxes than cut spending.
Governor Scott in his Tuesday press briefing responded to that result by wondering "how granular" the questions were.
The question, however, merely asked: "Considering the impact that the coronavirus has had on the Vermont state budget and the need to balance the budget, should the focus be more on cutting programs or on raising revenues?" 28% More on cutting programs; 54% More on raising revenues; 10% Balance of both; 3% Neither; 6% No opinion.
The governor, who has long opposed raising taxes, said that option should be one "of last resort." He said, "Nobody minds a tax increase as long it doesn't affect themselves, I guess." (See briefing here and go to the 1:58 mark in the video).
As for small business, nearly everyone who responded understood the threat to small business: "How concerned are you about the future of small businesses in Vermont?" 67% Very concerned; 26% Somewhat concerned; 4% Not too concerned; 2% Not concerned at all.
The full results, methodology, and appendices are available for download here.
Vermont PBS and VPR will provide extensive broadcast and digital coverage and analysis of the polling results throughout the week, including:
- VPR News stories and reports throughout the week
- A look at what Vermonters are saying about the toll recent events is all taking on their mental health and personal finances on Vermont Edition Tuesday, August 4 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
- A reporters roundtable discussion of the results on Vermont This Week Friday, August 7 at 7:30 p.m. on Vermont PBS
The poll, released one week ahead of Vermont’s primary election, is the second of three statewide public opinion surveys Vermont PBS and VPR are conducting during this election year. The first poll was released in February, ahead of Town Meeting Day and Vermont’s presidential primary. The final poll will be released in late October, ahead of the general election.
About Vermont PBS
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Listener-supported Vermont Public Radio has been serving the people of Vermont and the surrounding region since 1977. As Vermont's only statewide public radio network, VPR is a trusted and independent source for news, music, conversation, NPR programming, and much more. The latest news, live streams, schedules, playlists, and more are at VPR.org and on your smartphone.
Source: Winooski, Vt. – Vermont PBS. Vermont Public Radio.