polling

Brown University shaking up its political polling operation

July 24th, 2014 at 11:39 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Brown University is working on a reboot of its closely watched Rhode Island political polling operation, WPRI.com has learned.

James Morone, a political science professor who took over from Marion Orr this month as director of Brown’s Taubman Center for Public Policy & American Institutions, confirmed that he is working to hire one or more new staff members to conduct the polls.

Read the rest of this story »


WPRI/Journal Poll: Caprio far ahead of Magaziner for treasurer

June 4th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democrat Frank Caprio has a double-digit lead in his campaign to win back his old job as general treasurer, but nearly half of voters say they haven’t made up their minds in the race, an exclusive WPRI 12/Providence Journal poll released Wednesday shows.

The new survey of 506 Rhode Island Democratic primary voters shows Caprio in the lead at 29%, with political newcomer Seth Magaziner in second place at 11% and former Auditor General Ernie Almonte in third place at 9%. The poll shows 46% of voters have yet to decide whom they’ll support in the Sept. 9 primary.

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WPRI/Journal Poll: Dem primary voters split on 38 Studios

June 3rd, 2014 at 10:00 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island Democratic primary voters are evenly split on whether state lawmakers should pay off roughly $90 million in bonds sold to fund the 38 Studios deal, an exclusive WPRI 12/Providence Journal poll released Wednesday shows.

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WPRI/Journal Poll: Taveras still leads Raimondo; Pell slips

June 3rd, 2014 at 5:00 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The tight race between Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and Treasurer Gina Raimondo for the Democratic nomination for governor has barely budged since last winter, but their opponent Clay Pell has lost ground, an exclusive WPRI 12/Providence Journal poll released Tuesday shows.

The new survey of 506 Rhode Island Democratic primary voters shows Taveras still in the lead at 33%, with Raimondo still a close second at 29% and Pell a distant third at 12%. More than one in five voters – 22% – haven’t decided whom they’ll support in the Sept. 9 primary. Perennial candidate Todd Giroux is at 1.6%.

Read the rest of this story »


New WPRI/Projo Poll: Taveras 31%, Raimondo 27%, Pell 15%

February 12th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and Treasurer Gina Raimondo are locked in a tight battle for the Democratic nomination for governor, with Taveras holding a slight lead but one in four primary voters still undecided, an exclusive WPRI 12/Providence Journal poll released Wednesday shows.

The new survey of 503 likely Rhode Island Democratic primary voters puts Taveras on top at 31%, with Raimondo close behind at 27% and political newcomer Clay Pell further back at 15%. An even larger share of primary voters – 25% – haven’t decided whom they’ll support in the Sept. 9 election.

Read the rest of this story »

• Interactive: Dig into the full results and crosstabs for the new WPRI/Journal poll


New WPRI/Projo Poll: 46% of primary voters back pension law

February 11th, 2014 at 5:00 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Fewer than half of Democratic primary voters in Rhode Island support the 2011 pension overhaul championed by one of the party’s leading candidates for governor, Treasurer Gina Raimondo, an exclusive WPRI 12/Providence Journal poll released Tuesday shows.

The new survey of 503 likely Democratic primary voters also shows 70% of them think it’s important that a candidate for governor has prior elective experience, a key question for Raimondo rival Clay Pell, while 55% think Providence’s financial problems have been only somewhat solved by Mayor Angel Taveras, another Democratic candidate for governor, since he took office in 2011.

Read the rest of this story »

• Interactive: Dig into the full results and crosstabs for the new WPRI/Journal poll

Tomorrow at 5 a.m. – find out whether Raimondo, Taveras or Pell holds the lead among primary voters.


Taveras campaign stands by poll giving him 19-point lead

October 9th, 2013 at 2:05 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras isn’t backing down in the battle of the pollsters.

Hours after Brown University released a survey showing Taveras trailing Treasurer Gina Raimondo in a possible Democratic primary for governor, Taveras campaign aide Peter Baptista said his team stands by its Garin-Hart-Yang Research survey findings from last month giving Taveras a sizable advantage.

“We stand by the poll we released,” Baptista told WPRI.com. “The methodology is solid, and Mayor Taveras is focused on delivering for working people in Rhode Island.”

The Taveras campaign only released a memo summarizing its internal poll instead of the full results, but pollster Frederick Yang said his primary sample was 60% Democrats and 40% independents. By comparison, Brown’s primary sample was made up of only 40% Democrats and 46% independents.

Baptisa hinted that Taveras is getting closer to making a formal announcement about his candidacy for governor. “He will announce his decision in weeks, not months,” Baptista said.

Raimondo spokeswoman Joy Fox didn’t join the fray. “The treasurer’s office will not comment on polls,” Fox told WPRI.com. “We will continue to concentrate on our work in Treasury, and deliver results for Rhode Islanders.”

• Related: Q&A: Orr explains how Brown University’s poll was conducted (Oct. 9)


Q&A: Orr explains how Brown University’s poll was conducted

October 9th, 2013 at 12:38 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Marion_OrrBrown University released a new opinion survey on Wednesday morning showing Treasurer Gina Raimondo leading Providence Mayor Angel Taveras in the Democratic primary for governor. The findings are strikingly different from those of the poll Taveras commissioned and released last month that put the mayor 19 points ahead.

Marion Orr is director of Brown’s Taubman Center for Public Policy and Frederick Lippitt Professor of Public Policy & Political Science. He talked with WPRI.com on Wednesday about how the new poll was conducted. The interview has been lightly edited and annotated for length and clarity.

What are the headlines to you out of today’s new Brown poll?

The headline out of this poll is that Gina Raimondo is leading pretty good among likely voters in the Democratic primary. This is a fairly good lead, I think, within the margin of error.

Now, the lead narrows a bit – that is, her lead narrows a bit but she still leads – when you focus only on those people who tell us that they typically are Democrats. But she still leads. But the lead narrows.

What I’m suggesting here is that when you add in, say, independents who could perhaps vote in a Democratic primary, her lead increases. So I think that’s one thing.

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Brown U. Poll: Raimondo leads Taveras in Dem gov primary

October 9th, 2013 at 9:20 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Treasurer Gina Raimondo has the early advantage over Providence Mayor Angel Taveras in next year’s Democratic primary for governor, but Taveras is a stronger candidate against Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, according to a new poll released Wednesday by Brown University.

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Poll: Providence is one of the least religious cities in the US

April 1st, 2013 at 9:54 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Many Americans associate Southern New England with the devout pilgrims who settled here in the 1600s, but a new poll shows the region’s religiosity is waning four centuries after the Mayflower arrived.

Read the rest of this story »

• Related: Study: RI has 3rd-most baptisms, remains most Catholic state (March 12)


New Brown poll: 60% back gay marraige; Taveras most popular

February 28th, 2013 at 9:44 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

​By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – More than half of Rhode Island voters support allowing same-sex marriage in the state, while most opponents of the idea say it conflicts with their religious beliefs, according to a new poll released Thursday by Brown University.

The poll also found Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s approval rating is a dismal 26%. ”Lincoln Chafee still has not been able to move his numbers after over two years as governor,” WPRI 12 political analyst Joe Fleming said.

Read the rest of this story »


Poll: Raimondo is favorite for gov; Chafee does best as a Dem

January 31st, 2013 at 9:22 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Democrat Gina Raimondo is the early favorite to win the 2014 governor’s race, according to a new poll released Thursday morning to WPRI.com.

The Public Policy Polling survey [pdf] shows Raimondo would win anywhere from 32% to 46% of the vote depending on which hypothetical opponents she faces. She is the only candidate to crack 40% support in any of 10 ballot tests conducted by PPP.

If Raimondo is out of the picture, however, there’s no clear frontrunner: the leading candidates in non-Raimondo scenarios shift between Republican Brendan Doherty, Republican Allan Fung and Democrat Angel Taveras depending on the match-up. Moderate Party founder Ken Block starts out with double-digit support in most scenarios, suggesting his presence could have a major impact on the outcome.

Independent Gov. Lincoln Chafee faces an unsurprisingly uphill battle to win a second term, with more than half of voters saying they don’t want him to run again. His strongest shot at re-election comes if he runs as a Democrat: running under the party banner, Chafee starts out trailing Republicans Doherty and Fung by just four points. Among voters who do want Chafee to run again, 20% say he should run as an independent and 18% say he should run as a Democrat.

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Poll: Only Republicans have majority against gay marriage in RI

January 24th, 2013 at 11:05 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Rhode Island’s House of Representatives will gather at 4 p.m. for a historic vote to legalize same-sex marriage. It will almost certainly mark the first time either chamber of the General Assembly backs the idea. (WPRI will stream the debate live online.)

While there’s no doubt the issue remains controversial, polling suggests House lawmakers will be acting in line with public opinion if it approves gay marriage today.

Last September, a WPRI 12 poll showed same-sex marriage enjoys significant support among Rhode Islanders, with 56% of voters in favor of legalization, 36% opposed and 8% unsure.

Support for same-sex marriage is fairly broad among different types of voters, with one exception: Republicans. Rhode Island GOP voters are the only group that has a majority against legalization, with 59% opposed (and 40% strongly opposed). Voters ages 60 and older are closely split, with 49% of seniors in favor and 43% opposed.

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Poll: 68% in RI want Jack Reed to vote to change Senate rules

December 13th, 2012 at 11:52 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

A new poll suggests U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse is more in line with Rhode Islanders’ views on changing the Senate filibuster rules than his senior colleague Jack Reed is.

The Public Policy Polling survey of 520 Rhode Island voters finds 70% want Reed and Whitehouse to vote in favor of changing the Senate rules “so as to reduce gridlock.” The survey was commissioned by Fix the Senate Now.

Whitehouse has been a staunch advocate along with other younger senators in favor of changing the chamber’s rules to make it harder for Republicans to block legislation. Reed has been more cautious, voting against the proposal last year and taking a wait-and-see approach as momentum grows for another vote in January.

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Undecided voters in Cicilline-Doherty race are a diverse group

November 1st, 2012 at 11:31 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

The 1st Congressional District race looks headed for a photo finish: this week’s WPRI 12 poll shows Democrat David Cicilline at 43% and Republican Brendan Doherty at 42%, with 8% of voters still undecided.

So who are those 8%?

“With the undecided voters, there’s no one group where they’re from,” said WPRI 12 political analyst and pollster Joe Fleming after the two of us examined the data from our Oct. 24-27 survey of 300 likely voters. (The margin of error is plus or minus 5.66 points, and larger for subgroups, so caveat emptor.)

One characteristic that does stick out: 11% of women are undecided, compared with only 6% of men. “That could be good for Cicilline because he’s winning that group,” Fleming said. On the other hand, by definition these are women who haven’t been convinced by the Democrat’s pitch so far.

Other than that, the undecideds are a highly heterogeneous group.

Between 8% and 9% of voters in each of the poll’s three age groups – young voters (18 to 39), middle-aged voters (40 to 59) and older voters (60 or older) – are undecided. The group includes 8% of independents, 8% of Democrats and 4% of Republicans.

These Rhode Islanders may be more hesitant than the average citizen to make up their minds: 18% of voters who haven’t decided between Obama and Romney for president also haven’t decided who to support for Congress, compared with only 9% Obama voters and just 4% of Romney voters.

Both side will be spending the final days of the campaign trying to present a message that pushes these voters in one direction or the other – and hope that, if the undecideds break heavily in one direction, they can make up for it with a solid ground game.

• Related: Poll: Cicilline clings to 1-point lead over Doherty (Oct. 30)


New WPRI 12 Poll: Obama 54%, Romney 33% in Rhode Island

October 31st, 2012 at 9:50 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – President Obama continues to hold a commanding lead over Mitt Romney in Rhode Island with six days to go before voters head to the polls, according to an exclusive WPRI 12 poll released Wednesday night.

Read the rest of this story »

• Interactive: Check out the complete WPRI 12 poll results breakdown


New WPRI 12 Poll: 18% back Chafee re-election, 42% oppose

October 31st, 2012 at 5:59 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Gov. Lincoln Chafee faces a decidedly uphill battle if he opts to run for a second term in two years, according to an exclusive WPRI 12 poll released Wednesday night.

The survey of 601 likely voters also finds nearly two-thirds of Rhode Islanders think the state is unfriendly to business but three in five are satisfied with the quality of their local school district.

Read the rest of this story »

Coming up at 11 p.m.: Obama vs. Romney in Rhode Island


Cicilline vs. Doherty: New WPRI 12 poll drops tonight at 6 p.m.

October 30th, 2012 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Sandy distracted Rhode Island for a bit, but as of this morning the election is just one week away.

What better time for a new WPRI 12 poll? Our new survey of 600 likely voters in Rhode Island will be released starting at 6 p.m. tonight with brand-new findings on who’s ahead in the hotly contested 1st Congressional District race between Congressman David Cicilline and challenger Brendan Doherty.

We’ll also have new poll results for president (Obama vs. Romney), U.S. Senate (Whitehouse vs. Hinckley) and the 2nd Congressional District (Langevin vs. Riley vs. Collins). And we’ll share the results of three other questions testing Rhode Islanders’ opinions on the state’s business climate, its K-12 education system and whether Lincoln Chafee deserves a second term as governor.

Check back at 6 p.m. for the first round of results here on WPRI.com and live on WPRI 12.


New Republican poll gives Doherty 6-point edge over Cicilline

October 27th, 2012 at 4:38 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Republican Brendan Doherty’s team thinks he’s now leading Democratic incumbent David Cicilline in the 1st Congressional District. Unsurprisingly, Cicilline’s campaign strongly disagrees.

A survey commissioned by the Republican’s campaign and released Saturday afternoon shows Doherty at 45%, Cicilline at 39% and independent David Vogel at 6%, with 11% of voters undecided. The telephone interview poll of 400 likely voters was conducted Wednesday and Thursday. The margin of error is plus or minus 5.9 percentage points.

The poll was conducted by OnMessage Inc., a GOP consulting firm employed by Doherty’s campaign that previously worked for former Gov. Donald Carcieri. The question is whether it’s accurate. The OnMessage poll’s findings are far from outside the realm of possibility, but there are two reasons to be somewhat skeptical.

First, the firm didn’t release the party affiliation of its voting sample, which is a concern because its Sept. 13-14 poll may have interviewed too few Democrats to accurately capture the district. Second, the poll shows Mitt Romney winning 34% of the vote in the 1st District, which is 7 points better than his showing in the Sept. 26-29 WPRI 12 poll. It’s possible Romney has seen a significant bounce in the staunchly Democratic district over the last month, but far from certain.

The picture should become clearer when the new WPRI 12 poll is released next week. Roll Call’s Joshua Miller has more on the OnMessage survey. Separately on Saturday, Cicilline’s campaign sent out a recorded phone call with Bill Clinton endorsing Cicilline to 50,000 voters in the district. Listen here.

• Related: GOP to spend $280K on TV push (Oct. 26) | Dems counter GOP with $315K ad buy (Oct. 26)


A closer look at the methodology of the Brown University poll

October 10th, 2012 at 12:36 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

The 496 interviews used for Brown University’s new survey were conducted in two sets over 10 days.

The survey results combine findings from two groups of interviews conducted almost a week apart, the first done from Sept. 26 to 29 and the second done from Oct. 4 to 5, according to Marion Orr, the professor who oversees Brown’s polling. “We did two consecutive sets of days,” Orr told WPRI.com.

Asked whether the poll included cell phones as well as landlines, Orr said the call list was created using phone numbers that some Rhode Islanders voluntarily write down on the official voter registration forms they file with the secretary of state’s office.

A breakdown provided by Brown shows the 496 survey respondents identified themselves as 45% independents, 37% Democrats and 10% Republicans, with an additional 6% of voters classified as “other” and 3% who didn’t know or didn’t say. As a comparison, the 501 voters surveyed in last week’s WPRI 12 poll were 40% independents, 41% Democrats and 17% Republicans, with another 2% who refused to say.

The Brown poll’s gender breakdown was 50.2% female and 49.8% male, and its age breakdown was 10% under 30; 18% ages 30 to 44; 31% ages 45 to 60; 28% ages 61 to 74; and 11% ages 75 and older. Orr said the university trains and pays undergraduate and graduate students to conduct the survey interviews.

• Related: Cicilline leads by 6 points in new Brown poll; Republicans trail (Oct. 10)

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Cicilline leads by 6 points in new Brown poll; Republicans trail

October 10th, 2012 at 10:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

A second independent poll now shows Democratic Congressman David Cicilline has built a six-point lead over Republican challenger Brendan Doherty in Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District.

A Brown University survey released Wednesday morning shows Cicilline at 46%, Doherty at 40% and independent David Vogel at 7%, with another 7% of voters undecided. Brown’s findings mirror the results of last week’s WPRI 12 poll, which showed Cicilline at 44% and Doherty at 38%.

The survey also shows Democratic Congressman Jim Langevin ahead by 18 points in the 2nd District. Langevin is at 49%, Republican Michael Riley is at 32% and independent Abel Collins is at 5%, with 14% undecided. Incumbent Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse has a 29-point lead for U.S. Senate, with Whitehouse at 59%, Republican Barry Hinckley at 30% and 12% of voters still undecided.

Brown said the telephone survey of 496 registered Rhode Island voters was conducted over 10 days, from Sept. 26 to Oct. 5, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points on statewide questions. Brown said the survey sample for the races included 236 likely voters in the 1st Congressional District and 235 likely voters in the 2nd District, with a 6.3-point margin of error for district-only questions.

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Report: TV networks, AP cancel Nov. 6 exit poll in Rhode Island

October 4th, 2012 at 1:23 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Terrible news. Jon Cohen and Scott Clement report for The Washington Post:

Breaking from two decades of tradition, this year’s election exit poll is set to include surveys of voters in 31 states, not all 50 as it has for the past five presidential elections, according to multiple people involved in the planning.

Dan Merkle, director of elections for ABC News, and a member of the consortium that runs the exit poll, confirmed the shift Wednesday. The aim, he said, “is to still deliver a quality product in the most important states,” in the face of mounting survey costs.

The decision by the National Election Pool — a joint venture of the major television networks and The Associated Press — is sure to cause some pain to election watchers across the country. …

Here is a list of the states that will be excluded from coverage: Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Comparing this list with the election map, reveals how carefully the exit poll planners allocated resources. All 19 of the states with no exit polls are classified as either “solid Obama” or “solid Romney,” and there is only one “toss-up” gubernatorial or U.S. Senate race not on the list: the competitive North Dakota match-up of Heidi Heitkamp and Rick Berg.

Nesi’s Notes will be draped in black on Election Day.


The Cicilline-Gemma poll is ready, after more than 5,000 calls

May 16th, 2012 at 4:04 pm by under Nesi's Notes

The new WPRI 12 poll in the 1st Congressional District’s Democratic primary we’re releasing at 6 p.m. surveyed precisely 302 likely Democratic primary voters. You might think that means our esteemed longtime pollster, Joe Fleming, made 302 phone calls to get his results.

But it took many more calls than that to get a representative sample of the district’s voters – more than 5,000 calls when all was said and done, according to Fleming. “You need the right age groups,” he said. “At the end of it, you may be asking for a male or somebody who’s 18 to 39″ – that is, the people hardest to track down.

That’s important because any poll’s results are only as reliable as the people who took the survey. It’s especially tricky with a primary, where only about 25% of registered voters turn out to the polls, he said.

Luckily for us, nobody in Rhode Island has more experience getting polls right than Joe Fleming. He’s been with WPRI 12 since 1984, and still recalls making waves with bygone surveys such as one that put DiPrete and Sundlun in a dead heat.

I’m betting the results dropping at 6 p.m. will cause a similar stir when we release it on TV and online.

• Related: Exclusive WPRI 12 Poll: GOP’s Doherty has big lead over Cicilline (Feb. 27)


Can Gemma beat Cicilline? Find out Wednesday in our new poll

May 14th, 2012 at 1:07 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Congressman David Cicilline is expecting to face Republican Brendan Doherty in the November election – but he’ll never get the chance if businessman Anthony Gemma snatches the Democratic nomination from him in September’s primary. So what are the chances of that actually happening?

We’ll have the answer Wednesday when we release the results of an exclusive new WPRI 12 poll. Democratic primary voters in the 1st Congressional District weighed in on whether they plan to vote for Cicilline or Gemma, how they feel about the two candidates, which one is more electable and how Cicilline’s apology tour is going.

Tim White and I will have the complete poll results online and on air Wednesday at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. The survey of 302 likely Democratic primary voters in the 1st District was conducted last Tuesday through Saturday by our pollster, Fleming & Associates, and its margin of error is 5.7 percentage points.

• Related: Exclusive WPRI 12 Poll: GOP’s Doherty has big lead over Cicilline (Feb. 27)


Duffy: RI-1 fight may be ‘among the ugliest races’ ever in state

February 28th, 2012 at 1:32 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Rhode Island isn’t exactly known for its squeaky clean politics. But Monday’s new WPRI 12 poll has made Cook Political Report senior editor Jennifer Duffy think this year’s 1st Congressional District race could be one for the history books – and not in a good way.

The poll shows Congressman David Cicilline 15 points behind Republican challenger Brendan Doherty. “I think this means if he’s going to win this race, he’s not going to win it pretty,” Duffy, a Rhode Island native, said of Cicilline. “It is going to be among the ugliest races Rhode Island has ever witnessed.”

And considering the state’s political history, “the bar’s pretty high there,” she added.

Cicilline’s allies think he can to close the gap and defeat Doherty by following the strategy employed by Sheldon Whitehouse to defeat then-Republican Lincoln Chafee in 2006 – basically, say that even if the former state police superintendent is a moderate himself, he’ll provide a key vote to empower congressional Republicans who’ve supported privatizing Medicare.

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WPRI Poll: Chafee slumps, Raimondo solid, Whitehouse safe

February 27th, 2012 at 9:45 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Islanders of every stripe are unhappy with Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s performance as he settles into his second year in office, according to an exclusive WPRI 12 poll released Monday evening.

The new survey of 500 registered voters finds just 21% of voters give a positive grade to Chafee, an independent ex-Republican, while 75% give him negative marks. That includes nearly half of voters – 48% – who rate the job Chafee is doing as “poor.”

The widespread antipathy toward Chafee is a stark contrast with how Rhode Islanders view Treasurer Gina Raimondo. The survey shows 56% of voters give Raimondo a positive review.

The poll also finds U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse has a 22-point advantage over his challenger Barry Hinckley, with the Democratic getting 50%, the Republican getting 28% and 20% of voters unsure.

Read the rest of this story »

• Interactive: Complete results from the WPRI 12 poll with cross-tabs

Coming on Tuesday: Should Providence file for bankruptcy? Should Rhode Island allow casinos?


New WPRI 12 Poll: Doherty 49%, Cicilline 34%, undecided 16%

February 27th, 2012 at 5:45 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Congressman David Cicilline is headed for a double-digit defeat at the hands of Republican Brendan Doherty unless he finds a way to win back a large number of voters by November, according to an exclusive WPRI 12 poll released Monday evening.

The new survey of 250 registered voters in Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District shows Doherty, a former state police superintendent, would defeat Cicilline 49% to 34%, with 16% of voters undecided. Doherty’s lead over Cicilline has grown by two points since the previous WPRI 12 poll last May.

Cicilline has “moved the needle, but unfortunately for him in the wrong direction,” WPRI 12 political analyst Joe Fleming said. “Clearly, whatever he’s tried to turn it around hasn’t worked to this point.”

Read the rest of this story »

• Interactive: Complete results from the WPRI 12 poll with cross-tabs

Coming up at 10: Whitehouse-Hinckley; approval ratings (Obama, Chafee, Reed, Whitehouse, Raimondo)


PSA: Everything you know about the margin of error is wrong

February 27th, 2012 at 3:26 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

When our exclusive WPRI 12 poll drops at 6 p.m. tonight, you’ll see that the margin of error is plus or minus 4.38 percentage points for the entire poll and plus or minus 6.2 percentage points for the 1st District only.

Inevitably, some well-meaning folks will take our top-line results and then argue that anything in a range of, respectively, 8.76 points or 12.4 points could be true. If Cicilline is down 5 points, these folks may say the race is a “statistical tie.”

Those folks will be wrong, and here’s why, as explained by Kevin Drum back in 2008 (emphasis mine):

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Someone else conducted a long poll about Cicilline last week

February 27th, 2012 at 11:39 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Boy, who isn’t doing a survey in the 1st Congressional District this month?

David Segal did a poll. WPRI 12 did a poll (which we’ll release at 6:00 tonight). And now we’ve learned someone else with a keen interest in Congressman David Cicilline did a poll, too.

Two NN readers separately reported getting calls last week to take a part in a telephone survey by an organization that described itself as something like ”Rhode Island Opinion Research.” That doesn’t ring a bell, so it’s quite possible a different group – The Feldman Group, perhaps? – used it as a nom de plume.

One of the two readers, bless her heart, took thorough notes about the questions, which were asked by “a very professional woman,” though she had some trouble pronouncing “Carcieri,” “Segal” and “Boehner.” After the jump, you can scan the reader’s hastily drafted notes about the survey questions.

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Just 9 hours left until our new Cicilline-Doherty poll drops

February 27th, 2012 at 9:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

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)