Everyone loves a good poll, and in Rhode Island there are no better polls than those conducted by WPRI 12′s longtime pollster and political analyst, Joe Fleming. And that makes today a big day in Campaign 2012.
The 1st Congressional District race between Democratic Congressman David Cicilline and Republican challenger Brendan Doherty is already the state’s biggest political battle of the year. The two candidates finished 2011 neck-and-neck in the money race and Doherty’s only obstacle to the GOP nomination – John Loughlin – left the field in January.
Our last WPRI 12 poll, in May, showed Cicilline trailing Doherty by 13 points. There’s been little sign of a comeback for the congressman since then, with last week’s Brown University survey giving him a 15% approval rating and his successor in Providence now saying the capital is nearly bankrupt. Cicilline may face a primary challenge from Anthony Gemma, too.
But there’s a reason top Democrats remain behind Cicilline and political observers refuse to count him out: he’s a dogged campaigner, a prodigious fundraiser and a down-the-line Democrat in a deep-blue state running in a presidential year, while Doherty is a first-time candidate whose few public appearances so far have been so-so.
While the Cicilline-Doherty matchup will likely get most of the ink, other results to keep an eye on include how Gemma would fare against Doherty; whether Barry Hinckley is getting any traction against U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse; how voters feel about Governor Chafee after a year in office; and where Treasurer Raimondo stands post-pensions.
WPRI 12 will release the results of our new poll in four televised installments today and Tuesday starting at 6 p.m. tonight. Here’s what we’ll tell you about this evening:
- 6 p.m.: Cicilline vs. Doherty; Gemma vs. Doherty; approval ratings (Cicilline, Langevin); right track/wrong track
- 11 p.m.: Whitehouse vs. Hinckley; approval ratings (Obama, Chafee, Reed, Whitehouse, Raimondo)
My colleague Brian Curtin has created this interactive results page where you can dig into the results for different demographic groups, and I’ll have articles and analysis here. Don’t miss it.
• Related: Exclusive Poll: Cicilline would lose to Republicans Doherty, Loughlin (May 19)