QUEST RESEARCH - Market, Political, Governmental Research and Analysis Since 1966
Recent Rhode Island Poll Results
In our long tradition of public service, Quest will be providing links to current surveys that may be of interest with commentary.
Thoughts on the Latest Brown Poll 2/24/12
  • R.I. supports Obama’s contraception policy
Question: The Obama administration recently announced its decision to require religiously affiliated hospitals and universities to cover birth control in their insurance plans. Do you strongly support, support, oppose or strongly oppose this plan? strongly support 17.7%%; support 29.8%; oppose 23.7%; strongly oppose 23.3%; DK/NA 5.5%.
Question: The Obama administration has modified its original proposal and now requires that “Contraception coverage will be offered to women by their employers’ insurance companies directly, with no role for religious employers who oppose contraception.” Do you strongly support, support, oppose or strongly oppose this proposal? strongly support 12.1%; support 44.7%; oppose 18.7%; strongly oppose 17.3%; DK/NA 7.2%.
Comment:  Among the most interesting data in the survey and consistent with national survey findings.  But an important conclusion in the national surveys is ignored (i. e. how many know anything about the proposal other than what they were just told by an interviewer?).   Can’t help but wonder how much statements like “Obama administration....” and “modified original proposal...” swayed results.
  • Balancing the state budget
From the Brown release:  “The Taubman survey suggests that Rhode Island voters oppose most of Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s proposals to raise additional state revenues to help balance the budget.”
--Against a $30 increase in driver’s license and biannual registration fees
--Against tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge
--Overwhelmingly, oppose an increased tax on restaurant meals and beverages from the current seven percent to ten percent.
--Support the four-cent tax hike on a pack of cigarettes
From the Brown release, “The poll indicates that Rhode Islanders do not agree with most of Chafee’s proposed spending cuts.”
--Majority (53.7 percent) opposes cutting aid to the state-run Channel 36
--Strong majority did not want to increase the co-pays that low-income families pay for subsidized childcare
--Almost half of voters agree with ending state-subsidized dental care for low-income Rhode Islanders over the age of 2.
Comment:  Nothing really surprising here.  Wonder how much of the results really reflect a dislike for Chafee (Governor Chafee has proposed a series of tax increases and spending cuts to balance the RI state budget....) (emphasis mine), and how much reflects public dislike for increases that may impact them?   Put in this support/oppose listing, with no context other than Chafee...not sure data means anything practical re” direction of public policy.
Approval ratings changes since December
From the Brown release, Chafee’s approval rating has dropped -- 22.1 in December February 2012 excellent or good, down from 27.4 percent in December 2011 Comment:  This may be a drop and maybe not...margin of error for each poll 4%+ for each, it may have gone up, down, or been unchanged...either way Brown’s conclusion maybe wrong about the drop, but clearly nothing for Chafee to crow about.
--Rep. David Cicilline’s job approval numbers plummeted to 14.8 percent of voters rating his performance excellent or good, down from 24.3 in December 2011.  Comment:  Plummet (to drop down or plunge).  If I were Cicilline I’d be very concerned even though the data is, at best, flawed.  With both samples having more than a 4% margin of error either way (that’s 8% when the surveys are compared), and probably half of them not in his district anyway, the finding has virtually no predictive value.  Still, with the incumbent inherent advantages not helping him statewide, and the slim margin of victory last time, I’d be worried.  I wouldn’t count him out in November (if he gets past September), but I doubt if the reshaping of his district in Providence will be enough to make him a winner against a well known law and order opponent.  Expect a very nasty fight if it’s a Dougherty-Cicilline pairing.  Now would be a very good time for any potential Democrat primary opponent to fish or cut bait.
--State Treasurer Gina Raimondo’s approval rating has risen to 58 percent from 52 percent in December 2011. Comment: Maybe and maybe not...a supposed 6 point change with as much as an 8 point margin of error in the comparison would compute at my Ph. D. university, Pitt, probably not in Brown’s statistics classes, either.
--Providence Mayor Angel Taveras also has stronger job approval ratings (60 versus 52 in December 2011. Comment: Who knows (margins of error and who cares—He’s mayor of Providence, folks, not of RI.
Methodology Notes:
Comments:  The sample is not of likely voters, or even voters.  The sample is of registered voters.