Taubman Center Public Opinion Survey

Early look at governor's race; economy bleak

October 9, 2013  |  Media Contact: Courtney Coelho |  401-863-7287
A new statewide poll conducted by the Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University finds that State Treasurer Gina Raimondo leads Providence Mayor Angel Taveras in a potential Democratic gubernatorial primary. Approval ratings declined slightly for all state and local elected officials compared to October 2012. Almost 90 percent of Rhode Island voters rate the state’s economy as not so good or poor.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — A new public opinion survey by Brown University researchers finds that among Rhode Island voters who are likely to vote in the Democratic primary for governor, 42.0 percent would choose State Treasurer Gina Raimondo and 33.6 percent would choose Providence Mayor Angel Taveras. The poll finds that nearly a quarter of likely Democratic primary voters remained undecided.

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 638 Rhode Island voters Oct. 2–5, 2013. The poll has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percent. The sample of likely Democratic primary voters was 433 with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent.

The Democratic gubernatorial primary

Among Rhode Island voters likely to vote in the Democratic primary for governor, Raimondo leads regardless of party affiliation or gender. Raimondo’s strongest support is among Independents, with 45.7 percent choosing Raimondo compared with 31.2 percent for Taveras. Raimondo has a thin margin — 40.5 percent to Taveras’s 38.7 percent — among Democrats. Raimondo has strong support among men, 44.8 percent, compared with Taveras’s 31.8 percent. Women also support Raimondo (39.6 percent) over Taveras (35.1 percent). Almost a quarter of likely primary voters (24.4 percent) are undecided.

The governor’s race

Registered voters were asked to consider several potential scenarios for the 2014 general election for governor. In a matchup between Taveras and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, 41.5 percent of Rhode Island voters say they would vote for Taveras, 32.9 percent for Fung, with 25.6 percent undecided. In a potential race between Raimondo and Fung, Raimondo has a slight lead, 37.6 percent, to Fung’s 35.9 percent, with 26.5 percent undecided.

When asked about a potential general election for governor including Kenneth Block, Fung, Raimondo, and Taveras, Raimondo leads with 27.3 percent, while 20.7 percent of voters say they would vote for Taveras, 19.0 percent for Fung, and 9.0 percent for Block. When considering this potential field of candidates, nearly a quarter of voters (24.0 percent) are undecided.

Approval ratings

Approval ratings — the percentage of respondents rating an official’s performance as good or excellent — declined slightly for all state and local elected officials compared to October 2012. Taveras’ approval rating stands at 63.9 percent (vs. 65.6 percent a year ago). Raimondo has an approval rating of 54.2 percent (vs. 58.7 percent). Gov. Lincoln Chafee has an approval rating of 23.0 percent (vs. 28.5 percent). Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts has a 32.9 percent approval rating (vs. 37.5 percent).

Among national officials, President Barack Obama’s approval rating declined the most significantly — to 41.4 percent — down from 53.7 percent in October 2012. Sen. Jack Reed has an approval rating of 51.6 percent (down from 57.5 percent a year ago). Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse has a 39.4 percent approval rating (vs. 45.4 percent in October 2012). Rep. David Cicilline has a 26.6 percent approval rating (vs. 29.7 percent) and Rep. Jim Langevin has an approval rating of 38.7 percent (vs. 41.0 percent).

The economy

Just 43.6 percent of Rhode Island voters approve of how Obama is handling the economy, down from 55.2 percent a year ago. Voters continue to think the state’s economy is in rough shape, with 89.8 percent judging the local economy not so good or poor. A majority of voters (62.5 percent) say that Rhode Island is on the wrong track, while 20.9 percent say they think Rhode Island is going in the right direction.

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

Questions and answers

  1. How likely are you to vote in the 2014 Democratic primary for governor? very likely 53.4%; somewhat likely 14.4%; not very likely 29.6%; DK/NA 2.6%
  2. If the 2014 Democratic primary for governor were held today, would you vote for: Gina Raimondo 42.0%; Angel Taveras 33.6%; DK/NA 24.4%.
  3. If the 2014 general election for governor were held today, would you vote for: Democrat Gina Raimondo 37.6%; Republican Allan Fung 35.9%; DK/NA 26.5%.
  4. If the 2014 general election for governor were held today, would you vote for: Democrat Angel Taveras 41.5%; Republican Allan Fung 32.9%; DK/NA 25.6%.
  5. If the 2014 general election for governor were held today, would you vote for: Kenneth Block 9.0%; Allan Fung 19.0%; Gina Raimondo 27.3%; Angel Taveras 20.7%; DK/NA 24.0%.
  6. How would you rate the job Barack Obama is doing as president? excellent 13.8%; good 27.6%; only fair 27.6%; poor 29.5%; DK/NA 1.5%.
  7. How would you rate the job Jack Reed is doing as U.S. senator? excellent 17.6%; good 34.0%; only fair 25.9%; poor 15.8%; DK/NA 6.7%.
  8. How would you rate the job Sheldon Whitehouse is doing as U.S. senator? excellent 12.4%; good 27.0%; only fair 27.4%; poor 24.1%; DK/NA 9.1%.
  9. How would you rate the job David Cicilline is doing as U.S. representative? excellent 5.8%; good 20.8%; only fair 31.8%; poor 31.2%; DK/NA 10.4%.
  10. How would you rate the job Jim Langevin is doing as U.S. representative? excellent 8.3%; good 30.4%; only fair 29.5%; poor 19.3%; DK/NA 12.5%.
  11. How would you rate the job Lincoln Chafee is doing as governor? excellent 4.5%; good 18.5%; only fair 23.8%; poor 48.3%; DK/NA 4.9%.
  12. How would you rate the job Elizabeth Roberts is doing as lieutenant governor? excellent 5.2%; good 27.7%; only fair 24.6%; poor 15.0%; DK/NA 27.5%.
  13. How would you rate the job Peter Kilmartin is doing as attorney general? excellent 5.5%; good 30.1%; only fair 27.3%; poor 6.9%; DK/NA 30.2%.
  14. How would you rate the job A. Ralph Mollis is doing as secretary of state? excellent 4.4%; good 31.2%; only fair 25.1%; poor 8.5%; DK/NA 30.8%.
  15. How would you rate the job Gina Raimondo is doing as general treasurer? excellent 17.4%; good 36.8%; only fair 19.1%; poor 13.5%; DK/NA 13.2%.
  16. How would you rate the job Gordon Fox is doing as House speaker? excellent 2.8%; good 17.7%; only fair 26.2%; poor 31.7%; DK/NA 21.6%.
  17. How would you rate the job Teresa Paiva-Weed is doing as Senate president? excellent 2.8%; good 20.7%; only fair 21.9%; poor 25.7%; DK/NA 28.9%.
  18. How would you rate the job Angel Taveras is doing as mayor of Providence? excellent 18.3%; good 45.6%; only fair 17.7%; poor 7.2%; DK/NA 11.2%.
  19. Changing topics, would you describe the state of the nation's economy these days as: excellent 0.3%; good 13.5%; not so good 47.8%; poor 37.6%; DK/NA 0.8%.
  20. Would you describe the state of Rhode Island’s economy these days as: excellent 0.0%; good 9.4%; not so good 35.9%; poor 53.9%; DK/NA 0.8%.
  21. Would you describe the state of your own personal finances these days as: excellent 7.4%; good 56.3%; not so good 23.2%; poor 11.6%; DK/NA 1.5%.
  22. Generally speaking, would you say things in Rhode Island are: going in the right direction 20.9%; off on wrong track 62.5%; mixed 13.5%; DK/NA 3.1%.
  23. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling the economy? approve 43.6%; disapprove 48.9%; DK/NA 7.5%.
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.