For the last 41 years, Vermont state senator Bill Doyle (R) has distributed a survey to Vermonters asking them about some of the most pressing issues facing the state. This year marks the 42nd edition of the “Doyle Poll.”
Despite Doyle’s credentials as a long-time political science professor at Johnson State College and the most senior member of the senate, this poll is openly non-scientific; the goal of the survey is rather to gauge Vermonters opinions on a number of issues that are related to policy-making in the current legislative session. Indeed, the survey is made available to Vermonters at town meetings by their local representatives, and can be seen as an additional outlet for Vermonters to make their views known outside of the voting booth.
“[Vermonters] don’t always have a voice on the issues,” said Doyle in an interview with Vt Digger.
This year’s survey gave voices to 13,998 Vermonters from across the state, representing two percent of the state’s overall population. Thus, while the survey may lack scientific data collection standards, the sheer volume of data does lend some credibility to its findings.
While Vermonters supported many of the issues put forth by Doyle, they spoke definitively against two issues: a three-year moratorium on wind development and an added gas tax to pay for road maintenance.
That 52 percent of Vermonters polled oppose a wind moratorium may come as a quite a surprise, given the controversy the state has seen on this subject. The results of this survey indicate that a majority of Vermonters have not been swayed by the state’s numerous anti-wind demonstrations.
As legislators move to address some of these issues in the coming months, this survey may provide valuable insight into the overall attitudes of Vermonters on these policy questions.