Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Doyle Survey Shows Vermont Voters Favor Same-Sex Marriage - News Story - WPTZ Plattsburgh

Doyle Survey Shows Vermont Voters Favor Same-Sex Marriage - News Story - WPTZ Plattsburgh

MONTPELIER, Vt. -- A majority of nearly 7,000 Vermonters completing opinion surveys on Town Meeting Day said they favor same-sex marriage. 54-percent said they support allowing gay couples to marry while 37-percent were opposed.

That represents an 8-per cent jump in support for same-sex marriage in the last year, noted Johnson State College political science professor and state Sen. William Doyle of Washington County who compiles the results each March.

Among other '08 survey findings: 70-per cent said Vermont drivers should be prohibited from using cell phones while behind the wheel, while 22-per cent opposed such a law.

Only 6-per cent favored privatizing the Vermont Lottery, an idea Gov. Jim Douglas has proposed for property tax relief. 74-percent were against the idea. Doyle said this was the most lopsided result of any question he's asked in four decades of surveys.

The future of the aging Vermont Yankee nuclear power station in Vernon divided voters. Asked if the plant's license ought to be renewed in 2012, 43-per cent said yes, while 30-percent were opposed and 27-percent were not sure. "Not an easy question," noted Doyle.

About 4 voters in 10 felt Vermont's governor and legislators were "doing a good job", and 62-per cent said they favored changing the governor's term from two to four years.

33-per cent said they were "optimistic about the Vermont economy" -- down only slightly from 35-per cent in 2007.

And on the question of marijuana reform, the survey found 65-per cent support eliminating jail time for those convicted of possessing one ounce of pot or less. That change has passed the state Senate and is now pending before the House.

The Doyle survey is not a scientific poll, but a sampling of views of voters taking part in Town Meeting Day. The preliminary results released to NewsChannel Five Monday are based on the first 6,800 surveys tabulated. Doyle said from this point on, "the numbers don't change

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