public policy polling

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

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.


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.


Poll: Liberals, young people like RI; most Americans not sure

February 23rd, 2012 at 6:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Most Americans don’t have an opinion about Rhode Island, but those who do are more likely to have a good impression than a bad one, a new poll shows.

The Public Policy Polling survey found 26% of Americans have a favorable view of Rhode Island, while 16% have an unfavorable view, for a net positive rating of 10 points. Hawaii was most popular by far (54% favorable) and California the least-liked (44% unfavorable). Massachusetts was 35% favorable and 27% unfavorable.

More than half of those polled – 58% – said they weren’t sure what they thought about Rhode Island, tying it with Kansas and Idaho as one of the country’s most unknown states. Only West Virginia (62%) and Nebraska (60%) had higher shares without opinions.

The automated telephone survey of 700 U.S. voters was conducted Oct. 7 to 10 by PPP, a Democratic-affiliated firm in Raleigh, N.C. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. It was one of four polls conducted to get favorability ratings for all 50 states.


Lincoln Chafee far from most unpopular governor in the U.S.

May 31st, 2011 at 7:00 am by under Nesi's Notes

Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s first term may be off to a middling start, but compared with his counterparts in other states he could be doing quite a bit worse.

Chafee’s net approval rating ranks 28th among the 38 governors tracked by Public Policy Polling, according to figures provided to by the Democratic-affiliated firm. Chafee’s 38% approval and 44% disapproval ratings gave him an overall margin of -6 points.

That’s better than one of Chafee’s next-door governors, Connecticut Democrat Dan Malloy – whose 39%/47% ratings gave him an approval margin of -8 points, ranking him 29th – but worse than Massachusetts Democrat Deval Patrick, whose approval and disapproval ratings were both 45%. Patrick ranked 24th.

Chafee spokesman Mike Trainor said he believes the governor will win over voters as time goes on.

“Governor Chafee – he’s a workhorse, not a show-horse,” Trainor said. “His substantive, measured, methodical approach is going to produce results that I think are going to please an awful lot of Rhode Islanders. But it takes time.”

Trainor also noted Chafee faces big challenges. ”No reasonable person would disagree with the fact that he inherited a colossally difficult agenda,” he said. “His style is to go at things very methodically, very deliberately and substantively. He’s not somebody to put a sugarcoating on anything, and I admire him for that.”

Among the 10 governors whose approval margins are worse than Chafee’s, six are Republicans (Texas’ Perry, Pennsylvania’s Corbett, Wisconsin’s Walker, Michigan’s Snyder, Ohio’s Kasich and Florida’s Scott) and four are Democrats (Connecticut’s Malloy, Washington’s Gregoire, North Carolina’s Perdue and Illinois’ Quinn).

The most unpopular governors are Florida’s Rick Scott and Ohio’s John Kasich, both with approval margins of -23 points. Illinois’ Pat Quinn is right behind at -22. Nebraska Republican Dave Heineman is the most popular governor; his 67% approval and 23% disapproval ratings gave him a margin of +44.

One caveat – these polls were done over a long period of time, so some of the governors could have been caught at particularly high or low points. Chafee’s numbers come from February, while the others range from this month back to January 2010 (though most are more recent than that).

Chafee’s no Jack Reed, anyway. Rhode Island’s senior senator was the most popular Democratic senator in the entire country in 82 Public Policy Polling job approval surveys from January 2010 to February 2011.

U.S. Sen. Buddy Cianci? New poll tests ’12 candidates

February 23rd, 2011 at 10:55 am by under General Talk

U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse holds a double-digit lead over all his rumored potential opponents next year and a 17-point advantage over former Gov. Donald Carcieri, according to a new survey released Wednesday.

Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian gave Whitehouse the toughest competition in seven potential matchups that also tested the appeal of Carcieri, John Loughlin, John Robitaille – and Buddy Cianci, who was identified as an independent and polls surprisingly well. (More on that below.)

The automated telephone survey of 544 Rhode Island voters was conducted last Wednesday through Tuesday by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-affiliated firm in Raleigh, N.C. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

First and foremost, this poll shows Whitehouse is far from invincible next year.

The first-term Democrat’s approval rating stands at 49%, with a 38% disapproval rating and 13% unsure. In two-way matchups, he polls below the key 50% mark against Avedisian and Robitaille, and is barely over 50% against Cianci and Loughlin. That will be a reason for concern in the Whitehouse camp, though it’s still very, very early with nearly two years before the election.

Diving in, the results for top-tier G.O.P. prospects Avedisian and Carcieri are illuminating – and point to the damage done to Carcieri’s reputation by his eight years as governor. Avedisian told me Monday he is considering jumping into the race, and Carcieri is thought to be doing the same.

Both Republicans won the exact same level of support among poll respondents: 37%. But the number of undecided voters drops by half with Carcieri in the race: 16% are undecided on Whitehouse-Avedisian, whereas only 8% are undecided on Whitehouse-Carcieri. And that benefits Whitehouse – he gets 54% against Carcieri, but only 47% against Avedisian.

Loughlin and Robitaille are more conservative than Avedisian, but the results for two-way races pitting Whitehouse against them are similar to if he runs against the Warwick mayor.

Neither man will probably  jump into this contest, though; Robitaille has his eye on another bid for governor in 2014, and Loughlin is more likely to opt for a 1st District rematch against Congressman David Cicilline, who defeated him last fall.

And then there’s Buddy.

The one-time Republican served six terms as mayor of Providence – and four and a half years as a federal inmate – before embarking on his new career as a talk-radio host.

Cianci’s favorability rating of 44% is higher than those of any of the Republicans tested in the poll, including Carcieri (41%) and Avedisian (36%). And if this survey is accurate, there are still plenty of Rhode Islanders ready to cast a ballot for him. (See my chart of favorability ratings at the bottom.)

In a two-man race, Whitehouse gets 51% to Cianci’s 35%, with 14% undecided. But looking past Whitehouse’s 16-point lead, Cianci is only polling two points behind Avedisian and Carcieri – and keeps far more voters undecided than Carcieri.

In three-way matchups that tested Whitehouse and Cianci against Republicans Carcieri and Robitaille, Buddy has the backing of 22% and 24% in the poll, respectively, cutting into both major-party candidates’ bases.

Tom Jensen, Public Policy Polling’s director, told me his firm included Cianci in the poll after seeking suggestions on Twitter and learning a lot of people were curious how the former mayor would fare, though “not necessarily because there’s a serious possibility of him running.”

After the jump I put the full poll results for seven two-way and three-way matchups for Rhode Island’s 2012 Senate race. Then I have a chart showing the favorability ratings for the five potential Whitehouse opponents polled.


Somebody’s polling the impact of Shoveitgate

October 27th, 2010 at 5:45 pm by under General Talk

Looks like somebody’s doing some polling to see how voters feel about Shoveitgate. Just got this e-mail from a reader:

I received a robo-poll [call] last night at home while watching your debate. They asked two questions:

  1. If you will vote on November 2nd, who is your choice for governor?
  2. Do Frank Caprio’s recent remarks telling President Obama to “shove it” make you more likely or less likely to vote for him?

The robo then informed me that the poll was being conducted by  So there is at least one poll out in the field already on that question.

Hmmm. Public Policy Polling is a Democratic-leaning firm out of Raleigh, N.C., that uses the same sort of automated calling process as Rasmussen. I wonder who’s paying for it? If you know, fill me in at tnesi (at) wpri (dot) com.

And while we’re here, I’ll take this opportunity to plug yet again that we’ll release the first results from our latest WPRI poll by Joe Fleming tomorrow evening.

Update: On Twitter, Cook Political Report senior editor Jennifer Duffy – a Rhode Island native herself – suggests Public Policy Polling may be doing this poll on its own, as firms often do for the free publicity. “They know the media will cover them so it’s worth the $500,” she writes. (I sure would!) Looks like PPP turns their results around pretty quickly, so perhaps we’ll hear what they found soon.