58% vs. 39%

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    Mar 16, 2009 12:48 PM GMT
    This week, as the the Vermont General Assembly takes up the "gay" marriage debate, the latest polling data here shows that only 35% of Vermonters oppose equal marriage rights for gays & lesbians, with 4% leaning that way.
    Further, 45% show strong support for equal marriage and an additional 13% are leaning towards it, bringing the pro-marriage opinion to 58%.
    The anti-equality forces are trying to postpone legislative action until next year, so that they can bring in out-of-state money (mostly from religious groups) and resources to sway public opinion. This is their only hope, since they have lost to battle here in Vermont, so far.
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    Mar 16, 2009 1:03 PM GMT
    How come Vermont is so liberal?
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    Mar 16, 2009 1:09 PM GMT
    Lost_And_Found saidHow come Vermont is so liberal?


    That isn't a quick or easy answer.
    One hint is that Vermont is the least religious state in the US.
    Another is that it was an independent country for 14 years, before becoming a state.
    Also, Vermont has elected the only avowed socialist in the US Congress, Senator Bernie Sanders.
    It has the highest percent of rural residents in the US, its largest city has barely 40,000 people (which proves that you do not have to have large cities to be liberal)
    It has the highest number of non-profits per capita.
    Then, there is Ben & Jerry's and Phish. (LOL)
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    Mar 16, 2009 2:20 PM GMT
    I like to think that the close proximity of Quebec has influenced Vermont. icon_cool.gif
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    Mar 16, 2009 4:03 PM GMT
    Lost_And_Found saidHow come Vermont is so liberal?
    Its all that maple syrup. It makes them sappy and sweet.
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    Mar 16, 2009 5:43 PM GMT
    SurrealLife saidI like to think that the close proximity of Quebec has influenced Vermont. icon_cool.gif


    About 25% of Vermonters do have a French Canadian ancestor.
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    Mar 16, 2009 5:48 PM GMT
    I have two older brothers who live in Vermont and both of them have mentioned many times how liberal the state is..even compared to CT
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    Mar 16, 2009 6:05 PM GMT
    Also (as someone who's lived in the NE forever) I've noticed in comparison to everywhere else (statewise) I've ever visited, people in Vermont are more politically aware than anywhere else. I specifically don't mean active, or partisan. More Vermonters seem to have real knowledge of politics, issues and laws within their state than anyone from any other state.
    I live in CT now, and here, MA, NY, NJ, and also NC and FL and UT. Most people in these states, if they have any knowledge of statewide issues, it's only the issues that pertain to themselves. This is a more republican attitude, though it affects democrats equally when the issue is a democratic hot button issue or it's in a primarily democratic state.
    My observations are anecdotal though, so however broad they may be, keep that in mind.
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    Mar 18, 2009 10:29 AM GMT
    jprichva saidAncient history--the time before Vermont joined the US--has nothing to do with it.

    Vermont is the state which gave us Calvin Coolidge, so any claims that it has been historically liberal are just not true. I think the trend towards liberality started in the 1960s, when a large number of hippies moved there during the commune and back-to-the-land movements. I think Ben and Jerry themselves were part of that whole trend.

    Secondly, I believe the state has seen a migration from the Boston area---probably less so than New Hampshire, but still not insignificant. And these things snowball. When any group of people in an area reach critical mass, the fact of their existence brings others along with them. Since Vermont now has the reputation of being a liberal haven, ultimately more liberals look with more favor upon moving there.


    There are some facts which do not support your arguments. Back in the mid-1950's, Vermont was rated as the most liberal state in the US. That is way before any large numbers of people from Boston, or any where else, moved here. Between 1860 and 1960, the population of the state was static.
    Second, in the 1850's & 1860's Vermont was the most rabidly anti-slavery state (pro-Lincoln/Republican party) is the US. For the next 100 years (until the early 1960's) there was only one real major party in the state, with two wings. The liberal Republicans and the conservative Republicans. The Democrats joined with the liberal Republicans to form a working majority (most of the time). In the last 50 years, most liberals have moved to the Democratic Party (just as in the South the conservatives moved to the Republicans). Yes, migration has helped move the state left, but it was already there to start with.