By Guy Page
Sen. Becca Balint has a whopping lead over Lt. Gov. Molly Gray in the race for the Democratic nomination for Congress, and retired U.S. Army officer Gerald Malloy leads former U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan in the GOP race for U.S. Senate, according to a poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire this month on behalf of WCAX.
As published by WCAX, UNH pollster Andrew Smith offered the disclaimer that “summer primaries traditionally have lower attention and lower turnout and that there are still two weeks till the primary, with multiple forums and debates in the weeks ahead that could sway voters. ‘Things could turn around because low turnout elections in primaries are very challenging to try to predict,’ Smith said.”
Provisos aside, the poll shows that if the 2022 Republican primary election for U.S. Senate was being held today, 30% of likely Republican primary voters would vote for Malloy, 24% would vote for Nolan, and 3% would vote for investment banker Myers Mermel. 42% say they are undecided.
Mermel said the poll results are outdated and do not reflect the impact of his recent TV advertising.
“Given our recent TV buy, this race likely has changed since this survey was completed,” Mermel said. “I am the conservative candidate with the business experience to solve the problems of most concern to Vermonters: returning gas to $2, ending inflation, reducing rampant crime, and protecting the 2nd amendment. Given my business experience, and my plan to reduce crime, I can win over independents and democrats to beat Peter Welch.
The poll also claims that Balint – a progressive likely to become a junior member of ‘The Squad’ led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – has a 3-1 lead over Gray, who is seen as more moderate in the mold of early backer Sen. Patrick Leahy. 63% of likely Democratic voters would vote for Balint, 21% would vote for Gray, 2% would vote for physician Louis Meyers, and 13% are undecided.
The race for the Republican nomination to Congress is far closer and more undecided: Accountant Ericka Redic of Burlington 15%, independent-running-as-a-Republican Liam Madden 14%, and former U.S. Congress GOP nominee Anya Tynio 9%.
In a campaign statement following the release of the poll results, Redic claimed the edge over Madden and Tynio and said that she, more than Balint, “understands that bigger government is not the answer to the problems facing our nation.”
“We are experiencing the failure of such a belief….Democrat/Progressive habits of greater expenditure of taxes, greater government involvement in our lives, and still greater concentration of power in Washington. Elect an accountant, not another politician,” Redic said.
The poll also shows Peter Welch as the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. It only covers the U.S. Senate and Congressional races.
The Chronicle has solicited more comments from candidates and will update this story with them as they become available.