Taubman Center Survey

RI voters likely to approve casino gambling

October 10, 2012  |  Media Contact: Courtney Coelho |  401-863-7287
A new Brown University poll of Rhode Island voters finds strong support for state-operated casino gaming at Twin River and Newport Grand. In the hotly contested Congressional District One race, Rep. David Cicilline retains a small lead. The survey, conducted Sept. 26 to Oct. 5 2012, is based on a sample of 496 registered voters in Rhode Island.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — A new public opinion survey by Brown University researchers finds that Rhode Island voters appear poised to approve questions one and two on the state ballot, which would allow casino gaming in Lincoln and Newport. Despite an approval rating of just 29.7 percent, Rep. David Cicilline appears to have an edge over Republican challenger Brendan Doherty among voters in 1st Congressional District.

Researchers at the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions and the John Hazen White Public Opinion Laboratory at Brown University surveyed a random sample of 496 Rhode Island voters from Sept. 26 to Oct. 5, 2012. The poll has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent.

The poll found that most registered voters plan to vote in next month’s election (90.7 percent very likely; 4.2 percent were somewhat likely to vote). A majority of these likely voters said they would vote to allow casino gaming, with 57.3 percent saying they plan to approve question one, which would allow state-operated casino gaming at Twin River in the town of Lincoln (30.8 percent reject) and 55.6 percent in support of question two (33.3 percent object), which would allow state-operated casino gaming at Newport Grand in Newport.

Likely voters in the 1st Congressional District (a sample of 236 registered voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 6.3 percent) gave Cicilline a slight edge in the race. Among these likely voters, 45.8 percent said they plan to vote for Cicilline, 40.3 percent picked Doherty, 6.8 percent chose Independent candidate David Vogel, and 7.1 percent were undecided. Among likely voters in the 2nd Congressional District (a sample of 235 registered voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 6.3 percent), 49.4 percent said they would vote for Rep. James Langevin, 31.5 percent picked Republican Michael Riley and 4.7 percent chose Independent candidate Abel Collins. This race has a larger undecided group at 14.4 percent.

Among likely voters, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse has a strong lead at 58.6 percent with 29.7 percent of voters choosing Republican Benjamin Barrett Hinckley and 11.7 percent of voters still undecided. Voters also favored President Barack Obama (58.2 percent) over Republican Mitt Romney (32.3 percent) with 9.5 percent of voters still undecided in that race. Among all registered voters, Obama received a 53.7 percent approval rating, with 45.6 percent disapproving of his performance. A similar number, 55.2 percent, approve of the way Obama is handling the economy, while 39.5 disapprove.

Rhode Island voters continue to think the state’s economy is in rough shape, with most judging the local economy not so good or poor (93.4 percent). These results are similar to those from a February 2012 survey in which 95.5 percent of voters felt the economy was not so good or poor. A majority of voters said that Rhode Island is on the wrong track (60.9 percent), while just 16.3 percent said they think Rhode Island is going in the right direction.

The survey also asked voters whether they agreed with the Cranston School Department’s recent edict that all school dances be “gender-inclusive,” effectively banning “father-daughter dances” to comply with state and federal law. Only 12.7 percent of voters agreed with the edict, while 77.2 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed with the policy.

Both Whitehouse and Sen. Jack Reed saw their approval ratings rise significantly since February 2012. Reed received a 58.5-percent approval rating, a rise from 46.5 percent in February. Whitehouse received a 45.4-percent approval rating, up from 29.6 percent in February. Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s approval rating rose from 22.1 percent in February to 28.5 percent while Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts’ current approval rating is 37.5 percent, compared to 32.1 percent in February. State Treasurer Gina Raimondo’s approval numbers remain strong at 58.7 percent (compared to 57.7 percent in February). Providence Mayor Angel Taveras had the strongest approval rating of any Rhode Island official. Just over 65 percent of voters rated his performance excellent or good, up from 59.8 percent in February.

For more information contact Marion Orr at 401-863-9436.

Survey questions and answers
Questions asked of all respondents except as noted.

  1. How would you rate the job Barack Obama is doing as president? excellent 22.4%; good 31.3%; only fair 22.4%; poor 23.2%; Don’t know/No answer 0.7%
  2. How would you rate the job Jack Reed is doing as U.S. senator? excellent 19.6%; good 38.9%; only fair 21.2%; poor 12.7%; DK/NA 7.6%
  3. How would you rate the job Sheldon Whitehouse is doing as U.S. senator? excellent 12.1%; good 33.3%; only fair 26.6%; poor 22.2%; DK/NA 5.8%
  4. How would you rate the job David Cicilline is doing as U.S. representative? excellent 6.7%; good 23.0%; only fair 27.4%; poor 35.7%; DK/NA 7.2%
  5. How would you rate the job Jim Langevin is doing as U.S. representative? excellent 8.9%; good 32.1%; only fair 27.2%; poor 16.5%; DK/NA 15.3%
  6. How would you rate the job Lincoln Chafee is doing as governor? excellent 6.3%; good 22.2%; only fair 30.0%; poor 38.9%; DK/NA 2.6%
  7. How would you rate the job Elizabeth Roberts is doing as lieutenant governor? excellent 6.9%; good 30.6%; only fair 26.0%; poor 12.1%; DK/NA 24.4%
  8. How would you rate the job Peter Kilmartin is doing as attorney general? excellent 6.0%; good 29.8%; only fair 23.4%; poor 5.0%; DK/NA 35.8%
  9. How would you rate the job A. Ralph Mollis is doing as secretary of state? excellent 2.4%; good 26.2%; only fair 32.5%; poor 7.3%; DK/NA 31.6%
  10. How would you rate the job Gina Raimondo is doing as general treasurer? excellent 25.4%; good 33.3%; only fair 14.5%; poor 9.1%; DK/NA 17.7%
  11. How would you rate the job Gordon Fox is doing as House speaker? excellent 2.8%; good 15.5%; only fair 30.8%; poor 24.2%; DK/NA 26.7%
  12. How would you rate the job Teresa Paiva-Weed is doing as Senate president? excellent 4.2%; good 22.0%; only fair 26.0%; poor 20.6%; DK/NA 27.2%
  13. How would you rate the job Angel Taveras is doing as mayor of Providence? excellent 21.0%; good 44.6%; only fair 16.7%; poor 5.0%; DK/NA 12.7%
  14. Would you describe the state of the nation’s economy these days as - excellent, good, not so good, or poor? excellent 0.4%; good 17.3%; not so good 46.0%; poor 35.3%; DK/NA 1.0%
  15. Would you describe the state of Rhode Island’s economy these days as excellent, good, not so good, or poor? excellent 0.0%; good 5.2%; not so good 32.1%; poor 61.3%; DK/NA 1.4%
  16. Would you describe the state of your own personal finances these days as excellent, good, not so good, or poor? excellent 7.1%; good 54.2%; not so good 25.6%; poor 12.1%; DK/NA 1.0%
  17. Generally speaking, would you say things in Rhode Island are going in the right direction, or have they gotten off on the wrong track? right direction 16.3%; off on wrong track 60.9%; mixed 18.1%; not sure 3.7%; no answer 1.0%
  18. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling the economy? approve 55.2%; disapprove 39.5%; DK/NA 5.3%
  19. How likely are you to vote in this year’s presidential election? Are you very likely, somewhat likely, not very likely, or not at all likely to vote? very likely 90.7%; somewhat likely 4.2%; not very likely 1.8%; not at all likely 2.6%; no answer 0.7%
  20. If the next election for president were held today, would you vote for Republican Mitt Romney or Democrat Barack Obama? [Asked only of 471 likely voters; margin of error ±4.5%] Mitt Romney 32.3%; Barack Obama 58.2%; DK/NA 9.5%
  21. If the next election for US. Senate were held today, would you vote for Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse or Republican Benjamin Hinckley? [Asked only of 471 likely voters; margin of error ±4.5%] Sheldon Whitehouse 58.6%; Benjamin Barrett Hinckley 29.7 %; DK/NA 11.7%
  22. If the next election for U.S. House of Representatives were held today, would you vote for Republican Brendan Doherty, Democrat David Cicilline or Independent David Vogel? [Asked only of 236 likely voters in Congressional District 1; margin of error ±6.3%] Brendan Doherty 40.3%; David Cicilline 45.8%; David Vogel 6.8%; DK/NA 7.1%
  23. If the next election for U.S. House of Representatives were held today, would you vote for Democrat James Langevin, Republican Michael Riley or Independent Abel Collins? [Asked only of 235 likely voters in Congressional District 2; margin of error ±6.3%] James Langevin 49.4%; Michael Riley 31.5%; Abel Collins 4.7%; DK/NA 14.4%
  24. In the upcoming election in November, will you approve or reject Question 1: State Constitutional Approval to authorize state-operated Casino Gaming at Twin River in the Town of Lincoln? [Asked only of 471 likely voters; margin of error ±4.5%] approve 57.3%; reject 30.8%; DK/NA 11.9%
  25. In the upcoming election in November, will you approve or reject Question 2: State Constitutional Approval to authorize state-operated Casino Gaming at Newport Grand in the City of Newport? [Asked only of 471 likely voters; margin of error ±4.5%] approve 55.6%; reject 33.3%; DK/NA 11.1%
  26. The Cranston School Department recently ordered all school dances be “gender inclusive” effectively banning “father-daughter dances” to comply with state and federal law. Do you strongly agree, agree, disagree or strongly disagree with this decision? strongly agree 3.8%; agree 8.9%; disagree 28.6%; strongly disagree 48.6%; DK/NA 10.1%;
Editors: Brown University has a fiber link television studio available for domestic and international live and taped interviews, and maintains an ISDN line for radio interviews. For more information, call (401) 863-2476.