Survey of Rhode Island public opinion
Voters prefer Clinton to Dole, Reed to Mayer, Paolino to other hopefuls; oppose gambling in Providence
A Rhode Island public opinion survey finds Ocean State voters oppose gambling in Providence and are uncertain about competing welfare reform plans offered by Gov. Almond and the General Assembly. In elections, voters prefer Clinton to Dole, Reed to Mayer and Paolino to other Democratic candidates.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Rhode Island voters support President Bill Clinton over former U.S. Sen. Robert Dole in the presidential race, according to a recent statewide survey. Voters prefer U.S. Rep. Jack Reed to State Treasurer Nancy Mayer in the U.S. Senate race. In the second congressional district, Joseph Paolino leads his Democratic rivals. Voters oppose the establishment of a gambling facility in Providence and are uncertain about two competing welfare reform plans under consideration by the General Assembly.
The survey was conducted June 15 to 18, 1996, at Brown University by Darrell M. West, professor of political science and director of the John Hazen White Sr. Public Opinion Laboratory; Thomas J. Anton, director of the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions; and Jack Combs, the Center's research administrator. It was based on a statewide random sample of 423 registered voters in Rhode Island. Overall, it had a margin of error of about plus or minus five percentage points.
In the presidential contest, Clinton holds a 54 to 22 percent lead over Dole, with 24 percent undecided. If Reform Party candidate Ross Perot is included, 49 percent prefer Clinton, 18 percent favor Dole, 11 percent support Perot, and 22 percent are undecided.
Despite a $250,000 volley of hard-hitting ads aired by the Republican National Committee, voters prefer Reed to Mayer in the U.S. Senate race by 50 to 25 percent with 25 percent being unsure. In the last Brown survey in February, voters favored Reed over Mayer by 46 to 30 percent, with 24 percent being unsure.
In the second congressional district, Paolino leads the field for the Democratic nomination with 29 percent, followed by Lt. Gov. Robert Weygand at 16 percent, former West Warwick Mayor Kathryn O'Hare at 7 percent, Gordon Mulligan at 2 percent, and former State Sen. Joseph McGair at 1 percent. Forty-five percent are undecided.
Voters oppose the establishment of a gambling facility and/or activity in Providence. Fifty percent are opposed, 39 percent are in favor, and 11 percent have no opinion.
When asked whether they favor a welfare reform bill passed by the Rhode Island Senate and proposed by a coalition of community-based organizations or an alternative proposed by the Gov. Lincoln Almond, 12 percent favor the coalition plan, 18 percent prefer the governor's plan, and 70 percent are uncertain.
Almond's job performance rating has declined from the previous survey. Thirty percent give him excellent or good ratings, 40 percent rate him only fair, 21 percent rate him poor, and 9 percent have no opinion. In February 1996, 37 percent felt his performance had been excellent or good, 30 percent believed it has been only fair, 24 percent rated him poor, and 9 percent had no opinion.
Sixty-six percent believe Attorney General Jeff Pine is doing an excellent or good job, compared to 52 percent for Mayer, 34 percent for Secretary of State Jim Langevin, and 31 percent for Weygand.
As for federal officials, 49 percent feel President Clinton is doing an excellent or good job, 63 percent feel that way about Sen. Claiborne Pell, 52 percent believe it about Sen. John Chafee, and 60 percent believe that of Reed. Fifty-five percent think Rep. Patrick Kennedy is doing an excellent or good job, which is up from 44 percent in February.
For more information, contact Darrell M. West at (401) 863-1163.
Survey Questions and Responses
If the election for president were held today and the candidates were Republican Robert Dole and Democrat Bill Clinton, would you vote for: 22% Dole, 54% Clinton, 24% don't know or no answer
If the election for president were held today and the candidates were Republican Robert Dole, Democrat Bill Clinton, and Reform Party candidate Ross Perot, would you vote for: 18% Dole, 49% Clinton, 11% Perot, 22% don't know or no answer
If the election for U.S. Senate were held today and the candidates were Republican Nancy Mayer and Democrat Jack Reed, would you vote for: 25% Mayer, 50% Reed, 25% don't know or no answer
If the election for the second congressional district were held today, would you vote for: 1% Joseph McGair, 2% Gordon Mulligan, 7% Kathryn O'Hare, 29% Joseph Paolino, 16% Robert Weygand, 45% don't know or no answer (second district likely voters only)
Would you say that over the past year, Rhode Island's economy has gotten better, stayed about the same, or gotten worse? 14% gotten better, 39% stayed about the same, 40% gotten worse, 7% don't know or no answer
What about the next 12 months or so? Do you expect the Rhode Island economy to get better, stay about the same, or get worse? 28% get better, 39% stay the same, 21% get worse, 12% don't know or no answer
We are interested in how people are getting along financially these days. Would you say that you (and your family living there) are: 36% better off, 31% worse off financially than you were a year ago, 33% don't know or no answer
Now looking ahead - do you think that a year from now you (and your family living there) will be: 26% better off financially, 8% worse off, 55% just about the same as now, 11% don't know or no answer
Now turning to business conditions in the state as a whole - do you think that during the next twelve months we'll have: 30% good times financially, 31% bad times, 39% don't know or no answer
Looking ahead, which would you say is more likely - that in the state as a whole: 27% we'll have continuous good times during the next five years or so, 43% that we will have periods of widespread unemployment or depression, or what, 30% don't know or no answer
About the big things people buy for their homes - such as furniture, a refrigerator, stove, television, and things like that. Generally speaking, do you think now is a: 48% good, 24% bad time for people to buy major household items, 28% don't know or no answer
How would you rate the job Bill Clinton is doing as president? 7% excellent, 42% good, 37% only fair, 9% poor, 5% don't know or no answer
How would you rate the job Claiborne Pell is doing as U.S. Senator? 18% excellent, 45% good, 18% only fair, 8% poor, 11% don't know or no answer
How would you rate the job John Chafee is doing as U.S. Senator? 9% excellent, 43% good, 23% only fair, 10% poor, 15% don't know or no answer
How would you rate the job Patrick Kennedy is doing as U.S. Representative? 14% excellent, 41% good, 20% only fair, 10% poor, 15% don't know or no answer (first district only)
How would you rate the job Jack Reed is doing as U.S. Representative? 15% excellent, 45% good, 22% only fair, 5% poor, 13% don't know or no answer (second district only)
How would you rate the job Lincoln Almond is doing as governor? 4% excellent, 26% good, 40% only fair, 21% poor, 9% don't know or no answer
How would you rate the job Robert Weygand is doing as lieutenant governor? 5% excellent, 26% good, 23% only fair, 7% poor, 39% don't know or no answer
How would you rate the job Jeff Pine is doing as attorney general? 17% excellent, 49% good, 16% only fair, 3% poor, 15% don't know or no answer
How would you rate the job Jim Langevin is doing as secretary of state? 5% excellent, 29% good, 17% only fair, 2% poor, 47% don't know or no answer
How would you rate the job Nancy Mayer is doing as general treasurer? 11% excellent, 41% good, 22% only fair, 5% poor, 21% don't know or no answer
Generally speaking, would you say things in Rhode Island are going in the right direction, or have they gotten off on the wrong track? 39% right direction, 44% wrong track, 17% don't know or no answer
Shall a gambling facility and/or activity be established in the City of Providence? 39% yes, 50% no, 11% don't know or no answer
Do you believe that those on public assistance should be required to get a job or do community work in order to receive cash benefits? 78% yes, 8% no, 14% don't know or no answer
Do you support a lifetime five-year limit on the time people can collect public assistance? 55% support, 26% oppose, 19% don't know or no answer
Should the cash benefit to a family of three on public assistance be lowered from $6,648 to $5,651 a year? 19% support, 57% oppose, 24% don't know or no answer
As you know, the Rhode Island Senate has passed a welfare reform bill that had been proposed by a coalition of community-based organizations. The Governor has promised to veto that legislation if it passes both houses and has offered his own plan to reform welfare. Do you prefer the coalition plan or the Governor's plan, or don't you have any preference? 12% coalition plan, 18% Governor's plan, 70% don't know or no answer######