New poll: Vermont AG Sorrell leading Democratic opponent

Jessica M. Karmasek Aug. 23, 2012, 2:00pm


CASTLETON, Vt. (Legal Newsline) - Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell is leading his Democratic opponent, T.J. Donovan, according to poll results released this week.

The Castleton Polling Institute, in survey results published Wednesday, shows the incumbent Sorrell receiving support from 44 percent of voters polled. Donovan, the Chittenden County state's attorney, received 24 percent.

However, with less than a week left before the state's primary, 31 percent of voters surveyed said they were undecided.

"It is likely that Sorrell benefits some from name recognition, which would make a difference in a race that has not captured the interest of a majority of voters," Director Rich Clark said in a statement.

He said Donovan's strength appears to be among younger voters and women, while Sorrell does best with independents who say they will vote in the primary.

Sorrell also does better among respondents who voted in the 2010 statewide primary, Clark said.

The Castleton poll is based on data from 477 interviews drawn from a random sample of registered voters in Vermont.

Interviews were conducted by phone from Aug. 11-21.

According to Castleton, the margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level is plus or minus 4.5 percent, although the margin is larger for questions involving subsamples of respondents.

In the case of the attorney general question, there is a higher margin of error -- plus or minus 7 percent -- because the data on this subset of respondents is small, the polling institute noted.

Sorrell and Donovan will face off in the Democratic primary Tuesday.

The winner will go on to face Burlington businessman Jack McMullen, a Republican, in the Nov. 6 election.

Republican state Sen. Vince Illuzzi was rumored to run; however, in June he filed to seek the position of state auditor.

Sorrell hasn't faced what some would consider a serious challenger since being appointed by former Gov. Howard Dean in 1997.

Since then, he has won re-election seven times -- in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010.

For a more detailed look at this week's poll results, click here.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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