Friday, October 10, 2008

Vermont Governor Race

Race of the Day

Vermont Governor

October 10, 2008
25 Days Until Election Day

Status: Republican Incumbent
2004 Presidential Result: Blue State (East)

Outlook: Likely Republican

The politics of the Green Mountain State are unusual in several ways. For one thing, Vermont is one of just two states that elect their Chief Executive every two years. Another, is the fact that in a state where independent and third party candidacies are more relevant than most other states, a candidate must receive a majority of the vote in order to be elected outright.

In 2002, moderate Republican Jim Douglas was first elected Governor of Vermont and he has served with a high level of popularity the last six years. His last reelection campaign was fairly easy, but this year, while he is still expected to win, his numbers may be down in what is perhaps the most liberal state in the Union.

A Rasmussen poll out today shows that Douglas clearly has more support in his reelection campaign than any other candidate has, but it remains an open question whether he will break the 50 percent threshold in a year that would probably be a very tough one for anyone in Vermont with an R next to their name. Today's poll had him at 45 percent with an additonal 8 percent "leaning in his direction", but interstingly enough Douglas's Democrat opponent, State House Speaker Gaye Symington was not in second place. That distinction belongs to liberal activist Anthony Pollina, running as an Independent, and making his fourth bid for statewide office. The competition between Symington and Pollina to be Douglas's main challenger on the left should continue to be an interesting one, but it is pretty clear that the candidates are splitting a segment of the vote and thus making it easier for Douglas to win. There are also a few other independents in the field, who typically are included in the debates, which makes for some pretty weird television viewing.

If Douglas falls short of 50 percent, the race would be thrown into the State Legislature, which despite being heavily controlled by Democrats, would be expected to follow a custom of sorts in which they would ratify the popular vote winner, even if that person received a mere plurality against divided opposition.

Douglas campaign link:

2008 Governor races predicted: 4 D, 5 R
Predicted Gubernatorial total thus far: 26 D, 22 R


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