Vermonters Assess the Potential for a Presidential Run by Senator Sanders

Vermonters’ rating of President Obama’s job performance has declined over the past 15 months

According to a recent poll conducted by the Castleton Polling Institute a majority of Vermonters (54 percent) say that they would be likely to support Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid in 2016. While the vast majority of Republicans surveyed (72 percent) said that they would not likely support Sanders, two-thirds of Democrats and 56 percent of Independents said that they would likely support a presidential run by Vermont’s junior U.S. Senator.

Regardless of party preference, women are more likely than men to support Sanders’ bid for the presidency (see Figure 1). Women who identify with the Democratic Party are more likely to support Senator Sanders by 9 percentage points, while Republican and Independent women are more likely by 11 percentage points. Overall, 59 percent of women polled, as compared to 48 percent of men, say that they are likely to support Sanders’ run for president. 



Sanders's Bid Support

Among those who said that they would be likely to support Sanders, a majority (55 percent) think that he should run as an Independent, while only 31 percent said that he should run as a Democrat.

Whether or not they are likely to support Sanders, only 30 percent believe that he has a realistic chance of becoming President of the United States, although just shy of a majority of those who say that they would likely support the Senator (49 percent) believe that he has a realistic chance.

In addition to polling Vermonters about Senator Sanders’ potential presidential run, Castleton also asked Vermonters to weigh in on President Obama’s handling of his job. Forty-seven percent of Vermonters approve of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President, and 37 percent disapprove. Another 16 percent said that they had no opinion on his job performance. During the same week that the Castleton Poll surveyed Vermonters, the Gallup Poll put the President’s approval at 45 percent in a national poll; 50 percent disapproved, and only 5 percent had no opinion.[1]  Thus, while the percentage of Vermonters who express approval of the way President Obama is handling his job is comparable to the national percentage,
Vermonters are less likely to disapprove of the President’s performance than is the nation at large.

The President’s approval rating among Vermonters has dropped considerably since a Castleton Poll in February 2013, when 62 percent of Vermonters said that they approved of the President’s job performance, and only 27 percent expressed disapproval. 


This report is based on 608 interviews of adults in Vermont conducted between May 5 and May 13, 2014 by the Polling Institute at Castleton; 20 percent of the interviews were conducted with respondents on cell phones. The cell phone sample was drawn using random digit dial (RDD) methodology, and the landline numbers were drawn from a separate list-assisted RDD file.

Every county in the state is represented within 2 percentage points of its proportion of the state’s population. The final data are weighted to adjust for differential response in order to assure that the data are as representative of the state’s adult population as closely as possible.
The margin of error for a sample of this size is +/- 4 percentage points at the full sample level; any subpopulation analysis entails a greater margin of error. While sampling error is only one possible source of survey error, all reasonable precautions have been taken to reduce total survey error.

Complete Poll Results


The Gallup Poll, “Presidential Job Approval Center.”  Accessed online at on May 28, 2014.