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banner Friday, 7 January, 2000, 17:23 GMT
Vermont

In 1992 and 1996, Vermont gave Bill Clinton his fifth largest percentage margins and is almost certain to support the Democrat candidate again.

Key facts
Population: 588,564 (ranked 48 among states)
Governor: Howard Dean (D)
Electoral College votes: 3
The state that brought the world Ben and Jerry's ice cream is also home to an environment, ethos and way of life that is increasingly hard to find in the rest of the United States.

Vermont's postcard prettiness is a mixture of snowy mountains, brooding lakes and maple syrup. Its tiny population can seem lost in time, shunning billboard advertising, gimmicky commercialism and much of the other paraphernalia of modern living.

1998 Congress
House of Representatives: 1 Independent
Senate: 1 Democrat, 1 Republican
It is also the only state to have an independent Congressman, the left-wing Bernard Sanders. This is characteristic of a state that has historically gone its own way.

After the British were beaten, Vermont was an independent republic for 14 years and in subsequent decades resisted the temptation to develop large labour-intensive industries.

It charges high taxes to keep the state the way it is and this has made it an attractive retreat for big city liberal migrants looking for rural serenity.

Voting record
1996: Clinton 53%, Dole 31%, Perot 12%
1992: Clinton 46%, Bush 30%, Perot 23%
1988: Bush 51%, Dukakis 48%
But Vermont does not live in a total bubble. In addition to the state's traditional cottage industries and tourism, IBM and other big high-tech facilities bring considerable growth to the area and the state has one of the lowest poverty rates in the nation.

Vermont, once a centre of Yankee Republicanism, now sits squarely on the left. Its legislature was the only one to reject a proposed constitutional amendment banning flag burning and it has laws restricting campaign spending and limiting contributions.

The dominant progressive contingency is based in Burlington and surrounding Chittenden County and Democrats dominate the central stretch of land along interstates 89 and 91.

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Links to more States stories are at the foot of the page.


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