State and National Public Survey, February 1995

February 21-25, 1995
N=422 Registered Voters
Margin of Error: +/- 5 %

Would you say that over the past year, Rhode Island's economy has gotten better, stayed about the same, or gotten worse?

19% gotten better, 44% stayed about the same, 35% gotten worse, 2% 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, 43% stay the same, 23% get worse, 6% 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: 40% better off, 33% worse off financially than you were a year ago, 27% 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: 35% better off financially, 10% worse off, 51% just about the same as now, 4% 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: 40% good times financially, 39% bad times, 21% don't know or no answer

Looking ahead, which would you say is more likely--that in the state as a whole: 31% we'll have continuous good times during the next five years or so, 48% that we will have periods of widespread unemployment or depression, 21% 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: 58% good time, 24% bad time for people to buy major household items, 18% don't know or no answer

How would you rate the job Bill Clinton is doing as president? 4% excellent, 28% good, 47% only fair, 19% poor, 2% don't know or no answer

How would you rate the job Claiborne Pell is doing as U.S. Senator? 9% excellent, 35% good, 27% only fair, 14% poor, 15% don't know or no answer

How would you rate the job John Chafee is doing as U.S. Senator? 7% excellent, 44% good, 30% only fair, 8% poor, 11% don't know or no answer

How would you rate the job Patrick Kennedy is doing as U.S. Representative? 6% excellent, 28% good, 22% only fair, 7% poor, 37% don't know or no answer (first congressional district only)

How would you rate the job Jack Reed is doing as U.S. Representative? 10% excellent, 39% good, 29% only fair, 4% poor, 18% don't know or no answer (second congressional district only)

How would you rate the job Newt Gingrich is doing as Speaker of the U.S. House? 3% excellent, 18% good, 24% only fair, 33% poor, 22% don't know or no answer

How would you rate the job Lincoln Almond is doing as governor? 4% excellent, 29% good, 25% only fair, 10% poor, 32% don't know or no answer

How would you rate the job Robert Weygand is doing as lieutenant governor? 4% excellent, 28% good, 25% only fair, 4% poor, 39% don't know or no answer

How would you rate the job Jeff Pine is doing as attorney general? 22% excellent, 49% good, 13% only fair, 4% poor, 12% don't know or no answer

How would you rate the job Jim Langevin is doing as secretary of state? 1% excellent, 22% good, 22% only fair, 1% poor, 54% don't know or no answer

How would you rate the job Nancy Mayer is doing as general treasurer? 11% excellent, 34% good, 21% only fair, 4% poor, 30% 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? 53% right direction, 33% wrong track, 14% 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 responses coded as 21% unemployment and jobs, 14% the economy, 11% ethics and corruption, 6% the business climate, 6% government spending, 5% crime, 4% politicians and government, 4% taxes, 3% education, 3% welfare (all others under 3%)

Rhode Island has a number of independent boards and commissions which administer aspects of public policy. This includes the Narragansett Bay Commission, the Port Authority, the Lottery Commission, the Commission on Judicial Tenure and Discipline, and the Solid Waste Management Corporation, among others. Taken as a whole, do you believe these commissions are doing an: 1% excellent, 20% good, 47% only fair, 19% poor job, 13% don't know or no answer

How much do you think these commissions represent people like you? 6% a lot, 29% some, 54% not very much, 11% don't know or no answer

Many of these independent commissions currently have legislators who serve on the board. The commissions also include appointments made by the governor. Do you believe legislators should continue to serve on these independent commissions? 30% yes, 53% no, 17% don't know or no answer

Do you believe these commissions should have the power to issue bonds without taxpayer approval? 6% yes, 89% no, 5% don't know or no answer

Now I want to ask you a few questions about our federal, state, and local governments. In general, would you say that you are very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, very dissatisfied with the services you get from the:

  1. federal government in Washington: 4% very satisfied, 52% somewhat satisfied, 30% somewhat dissatisfied, 10% very dissatisfied, 4% don't know or no answer
  2. state government: 1% very satisfied, 50% somewhat satisfied, 29% somewhat dissatisfied, 13% very dissatisfied, 7% don't know or no answer
  3. your local city or town: 15% very satisfied, 50% somewhat satisfied, 19% somewhat dissatisfied, 10% very dissatisfied, 6% don't know or no answer

In general do you think that the federal government in Washington should play a major role, minor role, or no role at all in:

  1. crime protection: 66% major role, 28% minor role, 4% no role, 2% don't know or no answer
  2. health care: 66% major role, 22% minor role, 8% no role, 4% don't know or no answer
  3. public education: 64% major role, 26% minor role, 8% no role, 2% don't know or no answer
  4. providing jobs for people: 54% major role, 33% minor role, 9% no role, 4% don't know or no answer
  5. housing: 48% major role, 42% minor role, 7% no role, 3% don't know or no answer
  6. child protection: 63% major role, 27% minor role, 6% no role, 4% don't know or no answer
  7. welfare: 41% major role, 46% minor role, 9% no role, 4% don't know or no answer
  8. services for the poor and elderly: 63% major role, 30% minor role, 4% no role, 3% don't know or no answer

As you may know, Congress is considering a number of bills that would allow state and local governments more freedom in how they spend federal grant dollars by combining many separate programs into a smaller number of block grants. In general, do you: 39% favor, 41% oppose moving to a system of block grants, 20% don't know or no answer

Suppose that enacting block grants would lead to fewer federal dollars coming into Rhode Island -- then would you favor block grants or not? 15% favor, 60% oppose, 25% don't know or no answer

Suppose that enacting blocks would require elimination of some state or local services -- then would you favor block grants or not? 15% favor, 58% oppose, 27% don't know or no answer

Suppose that enacting block grants would require elimination of some federal programs that now exist in (fill in policy area), then would you favor block grants?

  1. crime protection: 14% favor, 61% oppose, 25% don't know or no answer
  2. health care: 13% favor, 62% oppose, 25% don't know or no answer
  3. public education: 13% favor, 63% oppose, 24% don't know or no answer
  4. providing jobs for people: 15% favor, 61% oppose, 24% don't know or no answer
  5. housing: 16% favor, 59% oppose, 25% don't know or no answer
  6. child protection: 14% favor, 61% oppose, 25% don't know or no answer
  7. welfare: 19% favor, 56% oppose, 25% don't know or no answer
  8. social services for the poor and elderly: 14% favor, 62% oppose, 24% don't know or no answer

Suppose that enacting block grants would require increased state or local spending -- then would you favor block grants or not? 20% favor, 55% oppose, 25% don't know or no answer

Would you be willing to pay more in state and local taxes to make up for federal dollars lost in block grant programs? 21% yes, 61% no, 18% don't know or no answer

Would you be willing to pay more in state and local taxes to maintain programs eliminated in federal block grants? 29% yes, 52% no, 19% don't know or no answer

Regardless of how you vote, do you usually think of yourself as a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent, or something else? 14% Republican, 23% Democrat, 52% Independent, 7% Other, 4% don't know or no answer

Are you a member of a union or teachers association? 25% yes, 74% no, 1% don't know or no answer

Darrell M. West, Thomas J. Anton, and Jack Combs