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September 19, 2006
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Taubman Center for Pubic Policy
Chafee and Whitehouse in Dead Heat; Carcieri Leads Fogarty

A statewide survey of 578 likely Rhode Island voters conducted Sept. 16-18, 2006, shows Sen. Lincoln Chafee and Sheldon Whitehouse in a dead heat in the U.S. Senate race and Gov. Donald Carcieri leading Lt. Gov. Charles Fogarty in the gubernatorial race. The survey also finds a majority of voters opposed to amending the state constitution to build a gambling casino in West Warwick.


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PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Sen. Lincoln Chafee is locked in a close race with Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse in the U.S. Senate general election, according to a new statewide survey conducted by researchers at Brown University.

The survey was conducted Sept. 16-18, 2006, at Brown University by Darrell M. West, director of the Taubman Center for Public Policy and the John Hazen White Sr. Public Opinion Laboratory. It is based on a statewide random sample of 578 likely voters in Rhode Island. Overall, the poll had a margin of error of about plus or minus 4 percentage points.

If the general election is held today, 40 percent of respondents say they will vote for Whitehouse, 39 percent for Chafee, and 21 percent are undecided. Last June, Whitehouse led 38 to 37 percent.

Gov. Donald Carcieri has a lead of 50 to 38 percent over Lt. Gov. Charles Fogarty. Carcieri led last June 44 to 39 percent.

In the race for lieutenant governor, Democrat Elizabeth Roberts leads Republican Reginald Centracchio 34 to 30 percent while 11 percent support Cool Moose Robert Healey, and 25 percent are undecided. In June, Roberts led Centracchio 29 to 26 percent while 11 percent supported Healey.

Attorney General Patrick Lynch leads Republican challenger William Harsch 57 to 24 percent.. In June, Lynch held an advantage of 55 to 23 percent.

In the contest for secretary of state, Republican Sue Stenhouse is ahead of North Providence Mayor Ralph Mollis by 35 to 30 percent, while 35 percent are undecided. In June, Stenhouse was ahead of Mollis by 30 to 24 percent.

In the treasurer’s race, Democrat Frank Caprio leads Republican Andrew Lyon by 43 to 18 percent with 39 percent undecided.

U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin is ahead of Independent Rodney Driver 60 to 21 percent, with 19 percent undecided.

U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy leads Republican challenger Jonathan Scott 60 to 25 percent, with 15 percent undecided.

Fifty-five percent of respondents say they oppose amending the state constitution to allow a gambling casino in West Warwick operated by Harrah’s in association with the Narragansett Indian Tribe, 36 percent favor a casino and 9 percent are undecided. This is up from the 52 to 39 percent margin that opponents of amending the state constitution had last June. Sixty-six percent of respondents think there should be competitive bidding on the right to operate a gambling casino in West Warwick, while 27 percent do not.

When asked their thoughts about this casino, 75 percent claim it would result in people betting money they can’t afford to bet; 61 percent feel it would boost tourism in the state; 60 percent believe it would create more gambling addicts; 59 percent it would create meaningful jobs; 55 percent feel it would reduce revenues the state gets from gaming at Lincoln Park and Newport Grand; 47 percent think it would benefit the Rhode Island economy; 51 percent say it would increase crime rates; 42 percent think it would raise the level of organized crime activity in the state; 39 percent believe it would help reduce taxes; and 36 percent say it would harm the hotel and entertainment industry in Providence.

Only 22 percent of state voters believe President George Bush is doing an excellent or good job (up from 20 percent last June). Seventy percent of Rhode Island voters rate the performance of Sen. Jack Reed good or excellent, up from 65 percent in the previous survey. Fifty-one percent believe Chafee is doing a good or excellent job, the same as in June. Fifty-six percent feel Langevin is doing a good job in Congress (down from 61 percent) and 43 percent believe Kennedy is doing a good job (down from 45 percent).

When asked about the job performance of state officials, 58 percent feel Carcieri is doing a good job as governor (up from 55 percent in June). Fifty percent believe Fogarty is doing a good job as lieutenant governor (down from 52 percent). Fifty-one percent think Lynch is doing a good job as attorney general, up from 48 percent in June. Thirty-five percent feel Matt Brown is doing a good job as secretary of state, down from 37 percent. Forty-two percent believe State Treasurer Paul Tavares is doing a good job, down from 45 percent last time. Fifty-eight percent say Providence Mayor David Cicilline is doing a good job, down from his 59 percent in June.

Forty-six percent of respondents believe the state is headed in the right direction, while 39 percent feel it is off on the wrong track. In June, 42 percent thought Rhode Island was headed in the right direction and 45 percent believed it was off on the wrong track.

Further information on the survey can be found online at www.InsidePolitics.org. For more information, contact Darrell M. West at (401) 863-1163.

Survey Questions and Responses

If the U.S. Senate election were held today, would you vote for: 39% Republican Lincoln Chafee, 40% Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, 21% don’t know or no answer

If the U.S. Congress election were held today, would you vote for: 25% Republican Jonathan Scott, 60% Democrat Patrick Kennedy, 15% don’t know or no answer (N=281 first congressional district voters; margin of error is +/- 7%)

If the U.S. Congress election were held today, would you vote for: 21% Independent Rodney Driver, 60% Democrat James Langevin, 19% don’t know or no answer (N=294 second congressional district voters; margin of error is +/- 7%)

If the governor’s election were held today, would you vote for: 50% Republican Don Carcieri, 38% Democrat Charles Fogarty, 12% don’t know or no answer

If the lieutenant governor’s election were held today, would you vote for: 30% Republican Reginald Centracchio, 34% Democrat Elizabeth Roberts, 11% Cool Moose Robert Healey, 25% don’t know or no answer

If the attorney-general’s election were held today, would you vote for: 24% Republican William Harsch, 57% Democrat Patrick Lynch, 19% don’t know or no answer

If the secretary of state’s election were held today, would you vote for: 35% Republican Sue Stenhouse, 30% Democrat Ralph Mollis, 35% don’t know or no answer

If the treasurer’s election were held today, would you vote for: 18% Republican Andrew Lyon, 43% Democrat Frank Caprio, 39% don’t know or no answer

How would you rate the job George W. Bush is doing as president? 4% excellent, 18% good, 21% only fair, 55% poor, 2% don’t know or no answer

How would you rate the job Jack Reed is doing as US Senator? 27% excellent, 43% good, 20% only fair, 4% poor, 6% don’t know or no answer

How would you rate the job Lincoln Chafee is doing as U.S. Senator? 11% excellent, 40% good, 33% only fair, 12% poor, 4% don’t know or no answer

How would you rate the job Patrick Kennedy is doing as U.S. Representative? 8% excellent, 35% good, 28% only fair, 22% poor, 7% don’t know or no answer

How would you rate the job Jim Langevin is doing as U.S. Representative? 10% excellent, 46% good, 27% only fair, 6% poor, 11% don’t know or no answer

How would you rate the job Don Carcieri is doing as governor? 22% excellent, 36% good, 24% only fair, 16% poor, 2% don’t know or no answer

How would you rate the job Charles Fogarty is doing as lieutenant governor? 8% excellent, 42% good, 20% only fair, 5% poor, 25% don’t know or no answer

How would you rate the job Patrick Lynch is doing as attorney general? 9% excellent, 42% good, 28% only fair, 9% poor, 12% don’t know or no answer

How would you rate the job Matt Brown is doing as secretary of state? 3% excellent, 32% good, 24% only fair, 5% poor, 36% don’t know or no answer

How would you rate the job Paul Tavares is doing as general treasurer? 6% excellent, 36% good, 20% only fair, 2% poor, 36% don’t know or no answer

How would you rate the job David Cicilline is doing as mayor of Providence? 15% excellent, 43% good, 16% only fair, 7% poor, 19% 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? 46% right direction, 39% wrong track, 15% don’t know or no answer

Do you favor or oppose amending the state constitution to allow a gambling casino in West Warwick operated by Harrah’s in association with the Narragansett Indian Tribe? 36% favor amending constitution, 55% oppose amending constitution, 9% don’t know or no answer

Do you think there should be competitive bidding on the right to operate a gambling casino in West Warwick? 60% yes, 27% no, 13% don’t know or no answer

Do you believe this gambling casino would:

a) benefit the Rhode Island economy? 47% yes, 43% no, 10% don’t know or no answer

b) harm the hotel and entertainment industry in Providence? 36% yes, 52% no, 12% don’t know or no answer

c) boost tourism in the state? 61% yes, 31% no, 8% don’t know or no answer

d) increase crime rates? 51% yes, 37% no, 12% don’t know or no answer

e) create meaningful jobs? 59% yes, 36% no, 5% don’t know or no answer

f) result in people betting money they can’t afford to bet? 75% yes, 16% no, 9% don’t know or no answer

g) help reduce taxes? 39% yes, 46% no, 15% don’t know or no answer

h) reduce revenues the state gets from gaming at Lincoln Park and Newport Grand? 55% yes, 28% no, 17% don’t know or no answer

i) create more gambling addicts? 60% yes, 31% no, 9% don’t know or no answer

j) raise the level of organized crime activity in the state? 42% yes, 44% no, 14% don’t know or no answer

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