You could excuse Phil Scott for feeling down in the dumps these days. There was the ice-bath shock of the VPR Poll, showing a dead heat in the race for governor. Then came a huge weekend of high-energy unity rallies for the Democratic ticket featuring Bernie Sanders, Pat Leahy, and Peter Welch thumping the tub for Sue Minter ad company, plus President Obama cutting a radio spot for her.
And now comes an ABC News poll showing Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump by 12 percentage points.
The growing gap is bad enough, but the worse news for Scott is deeper in the poll results.
The previous ABC/Post poll found a sharp 12-point decline in enthusiasm for Trump among his supporters, almost exclusively among those who’d preferred a different GOP nominee. Intended participation now has followed: The share of registered Republicans who are likely to vote is down 7 points since mid-October.
That’s a tangible sign that Trump is becoming a dead weight on down-ballot Republicans. And more evidence that Phil Scott has his work cut out for him, in what was once thought to be a cakewalk for the VTGOP’s King-in-Waiting.
A couple of business items on this Monday morning…
First, for those who don’t already know, I do a regular Monday morning chat with Chris Lenois at WKVT radio in Brattleboro — a fine station that, among other things, is an outlet for liberal radio talkers Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmann. I appear live every Monday at about 7:35 pm. After the fact, our conversations are posted on WKVT’s website. This morning, you can catch us talking the primaries, including the different dramas in Vermont Republican and Democratic circles; also, Vermonters’ overwhelming approval of school budgets and what it says about Act 46, and the latest disturbing revelations about suspended Sen. Norm McAllister (R-Limbo).
Second, blogging may be more sporadic than usual for the next two weeks. I’ve got some family-related obligations that will take me in and out of Vermont. Nothing urgent, just some business that has to be taken care of. Thanks to the Internet I’ll be keeping up with Vermont politics and chiming in when my schedule permits.
This is also a good time for a reminder that you can sign up for an RSS feed. You’ll get a short email every time I post something. Your email address will be used only for that purpose; it won’t be sold for commercial or even nonprofit purposes. The sign-up thingy is in the right-hand column of this page.
As we all eagerly await the arrival of Our Benevolent Overlord Donald J. Trump and the potential shitshow of a rally in a 1400-seat theater for which more than 20,000 tickets have been issued, there’s another high-profile political event tomorrow in Vermont. That would be, of course, Peter Shumlin’s sixth and final State of the State address.
He’s set the stage with a self-congratulatory website chronicling the progress made during his tenure. It’s chockablock with conveniently-limned graphs designed to emphasize the positive markers, sometimes sacrificing the nuance of truth in the process. And he has said this last year will be a process of consolidating the advances of past years, not an occasion for new initiatives.
Which would seem to imply a somewhat minimalist address. That makes sense, given his status as a lame duck dependent on the cooperation of Democratic lawmakers who will be campaigning without him in November. However…
Peter Shumlin isn’t exactly a shrinking violet. He has used past S0S addresses as springboards for major policy initiatives. Would he really go out with a whimper, not a bang?