Rhode Island State Survey, August 2000

Weygand Leads Licht in U.S. Senate Democratic Primary; Democrats Trail Chafee in Senate General Election; Langevin is Ahead of Coyne-McCoy in Second Congressional District Democratic Primary

Providence Journal/Brown University Survey
August 26-30, 2000

A survey of 438 Rhode Island registered voters conducted August 26-30 also finds nearly half feel the state's health care system has gotten worse over the past year and 22 percent say they or a member of their immediate family have experienced problems in obtaining affordable health care in the last year. Voters are closely divided on the controversial issue of abortion.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Congressman Robert Weygand has a lead over former Lieutenant Governor Richard Licht, according to a new Providence Journal/Brown University statewide survey. However, the poll shows both Democrats trailing current U.S. Senator Lincoln Chafee. Vice President Al Gore holds a comfortable margin over Republican nominee George W. Bush.

The survey was conducted August 26-30, 2000 at Brown University by Darrell M. West, director of the Taubman Center for Public Policy. It was based on a statewide random sample of 438 registered voters in Rhode Island. Overall, it had a margin of error of about plus or minus five percentage points. The survey was sponsored by the Providence Journal.

Among the 300 voters who indicated they were likely to vote in the Democratic primary for Senate, Weygand leads Licht by 41 to 29 percent, with 30 percent unsure. This group of likely primary voters had a margin of error of about plus or minus six percentage points. In mid-August, according to a Mellman Group poll on behalf of the Licht campaign, Weygand led 39 to 27 with 34 percent undecided.

In looking at key demographic breakdowns, Weygand leads among union members by 51 to 29 percent, Democrats by 46 to 30 percent, Independents by 39 to 26 percent, and senior citizens by 36 to 26 percent. He also is beating Licht by 48 to 22 percent in Providence and 43 to 36 in the Warwick and Cranston areas.


Weygand

Licht

Gender    
Male

43%

27%

Female

40

29

Party    
Independent

39

26

Democrat

46

30

Race    
White

43

28

Non-White

29

35

Union Member    
Yes

51

29

No

39

29

Age    
18-24

67

20

25-34

50

31

35-44

42

26

45-54

33

41

55-64

48

24

65+

36

26

City    
Providence

48

22

East Bay

36

36

Newport

47

30

Blackstone Valley

35

29

Warwick/Cranston

43

36

South County

32

32

Western RI

29


In order to examine how voters saw the candidates, we asked them whether Weygand or Licht would do a better job in the following areas. The results demonstrate that Licht is seen as more likely to keep abortion legal, but Weygand is viewed as more likely to improve health care and to be caring and trustworthy. By a 32 to 16 percent margin, more people are likely to blame Licht than Weygand for the negative campaigning that has taken place in this race.


Weygand

Licht

Keeping abortion legal

17%

37%

Improving health care

29

20

Reducing taxes

28

12

Caring about people like you

32

17

Being trusted to keep word

33

13

Improving education

29

15

Responsibility for negative campaigning

16

3

In the Democratic primary for the second congressional district, among the 152 voters who indicated they were likely to vote in this second district primary, Secretary of State James Langevin is favored by 37 percent, followed by 21 percent for Kate Coyne-McCoy, 6 percent for Kevin McAllister, and 3 percent for Angel Tavares. Thirty-three percent are undecided. The margin of error for this primary result is about plus or minus seven percentage points. A Mellman Group survey commissioned by Langevin found a week ago that Langevin led Coyne-McCoy by 41 to 18 percent, with 4 percent for McAllister, 2 percent for Tavares, and 35 percent undecided.

Demographic breakdowns indicate that Langevin has a bigger margin over Coyne-McCoy among men (38 to 14 percent) than women (36 to 27 percent). Among Democrats, Langevin is ahead of Coyne-McCoy by 36 to 29 percent, but has a bigger margin of 38 to 17 among Independents. With union members, Coyne-McCoy leads Langevin by 35 to 30 percent. In Providence, Langevin leads Coyne-McCoy by 36 to 22 percent and by 45 to 19 percent in Warwick and Cranston, and by 40 to 16 percent among senior citizens.


Langevin

Coyne-McCoy

McAllister

Taveras

Gender        
Male

38%

14%

11%

6%

Female

36

27

1

1

Party        
Independent

38

17

6

2

Democrat

36

29

5

4

Race        
White

39

21

4

2

Non-White

14

18

18

9

Union Member        
Yes

30

35

4

4

No

36

18

7

3

Age        
18-24

0

40

20

20

25-34

25

19

12

6

35-44

33

19

4

0

45-54

44

26

4

4

55-64

46

18

4

0

65+

40

16

5

3

City        
Providence

36

22

10

3

Warwick/Cranston

45

19

2

5

South County

38

19

5

3

Western RI

14

29

0

0

When asked which candidate would do a better job in the following areas, Coyne-McCoy is seen as more likely to keep abortion legal, while Langevin is viewed as more likely to be trusted to keep his word. On health care, about as many people think Coyne-McCoy would do a better job as felt that way about Langevin. By a 21 to 13 percent margin, more blame Coyne-McCoy than Langevin for the negative campaigning in this contest.


Langevin

Coyne-McCoy

McAllister

Taveras

Keeping abortion legal

11%

37%

4%

1%

Improving health care

23

21

4

2

Reducing taxes

26

12

4

2

Caring about people like you

25

20

3

2

Being trusted to keep word

24

16

4

2

Improving education

26

16

4

2

Responsibility for negative campaigning

13

21

1

2

In the contest for U.S. Senate, Senator Lincoln Chafee has a lead over his rivals. If Congressman Robert Weygand is the Democratic nominee, 48 percent say they would support Chafee, 31 percent claim they would vote for Weygand, 1 percent each favor Reform party candidate Christopher Young and independent candidate Kenneth Proulx, and 19 percent are unsure.

Demographic breakdowns reveal that Chafee runs well among Independents (besting Weygand by 55 to 25 percent) and is drawing 29 percent of the Democratic vote and 20 percent of non-whites. Chafee also leads Weygand among union members by 54 to 28 percent, among senior citizens by 53 to 25 percent, and in Providence by 42 to 35 percent.


Chafee

Weygand

Young

Proulx

Gender        
Male

47%

34%

2%

1%

Female

50

29

0

1

Party        
Republican

90

6

0

0

Independent

55

25

1

2

Democrat

29

51

0

0

Race        
White

53

29

0

1

Non-White

20

44

2

2

Union Member        
Yes

54

28

0

0

No

48

32

1

1

Age        
18-24

35

44

4

0

25-34

39

50

0

0

35-44

45

34

1

1

45-54

59

21

1

1

55-64

44

33

0

2

65+

53

25

0

0

City        
Providence

42

35

1

1

East Bay

64

23

4

0

Newport

47

31

0

0

Blackstone Valley

43

37

0

2

Warwick/Cranston

59

24

0

0

South County

55

26

2

0

Western RI

60

15

0

5

U.S. Senator Lincoln Chafee also leads if Richard Licht is the Democratic nominee. Fifty percent say they would support Chafee, 21 percent claim they would vote for Licht, 1 percent each favor Reform party candidate Christopher Young and independent candidate Kenneth Proulx, and 27 percent are unsure.

Chafee runs well across various demographic categories. He attracts 53 percent of the union vote, 30 percent of the Democratic vote, 34 percent of the non-white vote, and 55 percent of the senior citizens vote. He leads Licht by 49 to 22 percent in Providence.


Chafee

Licht

Young

Proulx

Gender        
Male

56%

23%

2%

1%

Female

48

20

0

1

Party        
Republican

88

2

0

0

Independent

59

17

0

2

Democrat

30

35

1

0

Race        
White

54

19

1

1

Non-White

34

34

2

2

Union Member        
Yes

53

20

0

0

No

52

21

1

1

Age        
18-24

43

19

5

0

25-34

48

35

0

0

35-44

48

21

1

1

45-54

57

23

0

1

55-64

48

21

3

2

65+

55

15

0

0

City        
Providence

49

22

1

1

East Bay

46

32

0

0

Newport

44

24

0

0

Blackstone Valley

45

28

1

1

Warwick/Cranston

61

18

2

0

South County

55

12

2

0

Western RI

74

10

0

5

Congressman Patrick Kennedy holds a commanding lead of 68 to 16 percent over GOP challenger Steven Cabral among the 209 registered voters in the first district. Kennedy runs better among women than men, earns 88 percent of the Democratic vote, and garners 81 percent of the non-white support.


Kennedy

Cabral

Gender    
Male

63%

18%

Female

71

15

Party    
Republican

21

54

Independent

67

16

Democrat

88

7

Race    
White

68

18

Non-White

81

0

Union Member    
Yes

72

13

No

69

18

Age    
18-24

40

20

25-34

78

13

35-44

69

22

45-54

77

12

55-64

62

17

65+

68

19

City    
Providence

62

19

East Bay

82

14

Newport

69

16

Blackstone Valley

67

16

In the presidential general election matchup, Gore garners support from 54 percent compared to 23 percent who say they will vote for Bush. Five percent indicate they prefer Green party candidate Ralph Nader, two percent say they support Reform party nominee Pat Buchanan, and 16 percent are undecided. Last February, Gore was ahead of Bush by 39 to 25 percent, with 36 percent unsure.

In an open-ended question, we asked people what they thought the most important problem was facing the state and then classified answers into policy categories. The top issue named this month was health care, followed by ethics and corruption (named by 15 percent of voters), education (14%,) and taxes (6%). Only three individuals (less than 1 percent) named abortion as the most important state problem. Last February, when we asked the most important problem question, 13 percent named taxes, followed by ethics and corruption (11%), jobs and unemployment (10%), education (9%), health care (6%), business climate (5%), the economy (5%), roads (3%), race (5%), politicians and government performance (2%), crime (2%), the environment (2%), and budget (2%) . All other problems named were under 2%

Most Important Problem August, 2000 February, 2000
Health care 20% 6%
Ethics/Corruption 15 11
Education 14 9
Taxes 6 13
Crime 5 2
Politicians and Govt 5 2
Jobs/Unemployment 3 10
Violence 3 1
Environment 2 2
Business Climate 2 5

On the controversial subject of abortion, 45 percent say abortion should be generally available to those who want it, 32 percent feel abortion should be available but under stricter limits than it is now, 12 percent believe abortion should not be permitted, and 11 percent are unsure.

The following table shows variations in abortion support across demographic categories.


Generally Available

Stricter Limits

Not Permitted

Gender      
Male

43%

36%

15%

Female

51

32

11

Party      
Republican

32

34

30

Independent

47

40

10

Democrat

54

27

10

Race      
White

48

34

13

Non-White

47

38

11

Union Member      
Yes

42

44

9

No

49

32

14

Age      
18-24

44

35

17

25-34

58

29

11

35-44

49

33

12

45-54

46

41

10

55-64

51

33

13

65+

44

32

14

City      
Providence

53

32

10

East Bay

55

41

0

Newport

55

30

14

Blackstone Valley

39

36

19

Warwick/Cranston

48

33

14

South County

45

33

17

Western RI

35

50

5


In terms of how this issue affects candidate preferences in the Senate Democratic primary, Weygand holds a bigger lead (46 to 36 percent) among those who feel abortion should not be permitted than among those who feel it generally should be available (39 to 35 percent).


Weygand Licht
Abortion Generally Available 39% 35%
Stricter Limits 44 22
Abortion Not Permitted 46 36

In the Congressional Democratic primary, abortion holds a stronger link to the vote. Langevin's lead over Coyne-McCoy swells from 32 to 27 among those who feel abortion generally should be available to 57 to 0 percent among those believing abortion should not be permitted.


Langevin Coyne-McCoy McAllister Tavares
Abortion Generally Available 32% 27% 5% 4%
Stricter Limits 35 16 7 2
Abortion Not Permitted 57 0 14 7

Twenty-two percent said they or a member of their immediate family had experienced problems in obtaining affordable health care in the last year. Forty-seven percent believe Rhode Island's health care system has gotten worse over the past year. However, 73 percent rate the quality of the health care they have received over the past year as excellent or good. Sixty-eight percent express support for having Medicare cover prescription drug expenses for senior citizens even if it meant they would have to pay more.

The following tables show demographic breakdowns for the health care questions.


Problems Obtaining Health Care

No Problems

Gender    
Male

19%

78%

Female

25

74

Party    
Republican

18

80

Independent

21

78

Democrat

26

71

Race    
White

22

77

Non-White

31

62

Union Member    
Yes

23

76

No

23

76

Age    
18-24

30

70

25-34

27

69

35-44

26

73

45-54

31

69

55-64

22

75

65+

13

85

City    
Providence

24

72

East Bay

27

73

Newport

30

68

Blackstone Valley

18

81

Warwick/Cranston

23

77

South County

13

85

Western RI

35

65

 

RI Health Care System

 

 

Better

Same

Worse

Gender      
Male

10%

39%

42%

Female

7

30

55

Party      
Republican

8

42

32

Independent

7

34

54

Democrat

12

33

46

Race      
White

8

34

50

Non-White

13

33

40

Union Member      
Yes

14

32

47

No

7

35

49

Age      
18-24

22

30

35

25-34

7

38

49

35-44

6

39

46

45-54

10

25

62

55-64

6

27

56

65+

9

40

40

City      
Providence

10

38

43

East Bay

9

36

55

Newport

9

28

54

Blackstone Valley

8

29

50

Warwick/Cranston

8

29

64

South County

5

38

47

Western RI

5

35

50

Personal Health Care

 

Excellent

Good

Only Fair

Poor

Gender        
Male

30%

46%

16%

5%

Female

33

46

14

5

Party        
Republican

34

44

14

6

Independent

34

46

14

4

Democrat

31

45

14

6

Race        
White

34

46

14

4

Non-White

20

44

20

11

Union Member        
Yes

33

45

10

9

No

32

46

15

4

Age        
18-24

22

48

22

4

25-34

22

49

18

7

35-44

24

57

13

4

45-54

37

41

12

7

55-64

44

36

13

5

65+

33

44

16

4

City        
Providence

30

47

14

6

East Bay

41

46

14

0

Newport

30

48

9

9

Blackstone Valley

30

44

20

5

Warwick/Cranston

40

39

19

2

South County

35

48

10

5

Western RI

15

50

20

5

Prescription Drug Coverage

 

Support

Oppose

Gender    
Male

71%

23%

Female

73

13

Party    
Republican

63

29

Independent

74

17

Democrat

77

15

Race    
White

73

17

Non-White

70

23

Union Member    
Yes

80

13

No

71

19

Age    
18-24

78

17

25-34

75

20

35-44

76

16

45-54

79

12

55-64

76

11

65+

62

24

City    
Providence

73

15

East Bay

82

18

Newport

82

11

Blackstone Valley

75

15

Warwick/Cranston

77

15

South County

60

28

Western RI

65

30

There was no difference in preference for Weygand or Licht for those who indicated they had problems in obtaining affordable health care. However, with those who had no problems in obtaining health care, Weygand leads Licht by 43 to 27 percent.


Weygand Licht
Problems Obtaining Health Care 38% 38%
No Problems 43 27

Coyne-McCoy runs stronger with voters who indicated they have had problems in obtaining affordable health care. Among that group, she leads Langevin by 30 to 23 percent. With those who have not had problems, Langevin is ahead by 39 to 18 percent.


Langevin Coyne-McCoy McAllister Tavares
Problems Obtaining Health Care 23% 30% 7% 0%
No Problems 39 18 6 5

For more information, contact Darrell M. West at (401) 863-1163 or see the website: www.InsidePolitics.org.

Survey Questions and Responses

If the election for president were held today, would you vote for the Republican George W. Bush, Democrat Al Gore, Green Party candidate Ralph Nader, or Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan? 23% Bush, 54% Gore, 5% Nader, 2% Buchanan, 16% don't know or no answer

If the election for U.S. Senate were held today, would you vote for the Republican Lincoln Chafee, Democrat Robert Weygand, Reform party candidate Christopher Young, or independent candidate Kenneth Proulx? 48% Chafee, 31% Weygand, 1% Young, 1% Proulx, 19% don't know or no answer

If the election for U.S. Senate were held today, would you vote for the Republican Lincoln Chafee, Democrat Richard Licht, Reform party candidate Christopher Young, or independent candidate Kenneth Proulx? 50% Chafee, 21% Licht, 1% Young, 1% Proulx, 27% don't know or no answer

(first congressional district only) If the election for U.S. Congress were held today, would you vote for the Republican Steven Cabral or Democrat Patrick Kennedy? 16% Cabral, 68% Kennedy, 16% don't know or no answer

(likely Democratic primary voters only) If the Democratic Senate candidates were Robert Weygand or Richard Licht, would you vote for: 41% Weygand, 29% Licht, 30% don't know or no answer

(likely second congressional district Democratic primary voters only) If the Democratic Congressional candidates were James Langevin, Kate Coyne-McCoy, Kevin McAllister, or Angel Tavares, would you vote for: 37% Langevin, 21% Coyne-McCoy, 6% McAllister, 3% Tavares, 33% don't know or no answer

(likely Democratic primary voters only) Which candidate would do a better job in the following areas:

    a) keeping abortion legal: 17% Weygand, 37% Licht, 46% don't know or no answer

    b) improving health care: 29% Weygand, 20% Licht, 51% don't know or no answer

    c) reducing taxes: 28% Weygand, 12% Licht, 60% don't know or no answer

    d) caring about people like you: 32% Weygand, 17% Licht, 51% don't know or no answer

    e) being trusted to keep word: 33% Weygand, 13% Licht, 54% don't know or no answer

    f) improving education: 29% Weygand, 15% Licht, 56% don't know or no answer

(likely Democratic primary voters only) Who do you think is more responsible for the negative campaigning that has taken place in this race? 16% Weygand, 32% Licht, 52% don't know or no answer

(likely second congressional district Democratic primary voters only) Which candidate would do a better job in the following areas:

    a) keeping abortion legal: 11% Langevin, 37% Coyne-McCoy, 4% McAllister, 1% Tavares, 47% don't know or no answer

    b) improving health care: 23% Langevin, 21% Coyne-McCoy, 4% McAllister, 2% Tavares, 50% don't know or no answer

    c) reducing taxes: 26% Langevin, 12% Coyne-McCoy, 4% McAllister, 2% Tavares, 56% don't know or no answer

    d) caring about people like you: 25% Langevin, 20% Coyne-McCoy, 3% McAllister, 2% Tavares, 50% don't know or no answer

    e) being trusted to keep word: 24% Langevin, 16% Coyne-McCoy, 4% McAllister, 2% Tavares, 54% don't know or no answer

    f) improving education: 26% Langevin, 16% Coyne-McCoy, 4% McAllister, 2% Tavares, 52% don't know or no answer

(likely second congressional district primary voters only) Who do you think is more responsible for the negative campaigning that has taken place in this race? 13% Langevin, 21% Coyne-McCoy, 1% McAllister, 2% Tavares, 63% don't know or no answer

As far as you are concerned, what is the most important problem facing the state of Rhode Island today? (open-ended answers coded as: 20% health care, 15% ethics and corruption, 14% education, 6% taxes, 5% crime, 5% politicians and government, 3% jobs/unemployment, 3% violence, 2% environment, 2% business climate) (all others mentioned were under 2%)

Which of these comes closest to your view? 45% abortion should be generally available to those who want it, 32% abortion should be available, but under stricter limits than it is now, 12% abortion should not be permitted, 11% don't know or no answer

Have you or a member of your immediate family experienced problems in obtaining affordable health care in the last year? 22% yes, 72% no, 6% don't know or no answer

Do you feel Rhode Island's health care system has: 8% gotten better, 32% stayed about the same, or 47% gotten worse over the past year? 13% don't know or no answer

How would you describe the quality of the health care you and your immediate family have received over the past year: 30% excellent, 43% good, 14% only fair, 5% poor, 8% don't know or no answer

Would you support or oppose having the Medicare insurance program cover prescription drug expenses for senior citizens even if it meant you'd have to pay more? 68% support, 17% oppose, 15% don't know or no answer

Darrell M. West