1996-1997 indexDistributed September 23, 1996
Public opinion survey
R.I. voters prefer Reed to Mayer, favor Kennedy and Weygand, want to name new airport terminal after Sen. Claiborne Pell
A survey of 405 Rhode Island voters shows a preference for Jack Reed over Nancy Mayer in the U.S. Senate race, preferences for Patrick Kennedy and Robert Weygand over their opponents in House races, and a sharp increase in the Index of Consumer Sentiment for Rhode Island.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Rhode Island voters support U.S. Rep. Jack Reed by 49 to 32 percent over State Treasurer Nancy Mayer in the U.S. Senate race, according to a recent statewide survey. In the first congressional district, U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy holds a big lead over Republican challenger Giovanni Cicione. Lt. Gov. Robert Weygand has a substantial lead over Republican nominee Rick Wild. Voters feel the new airport terminal should be named after U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell. Fifty-seven percent of Rhode Islanders say they have thought about moving to another state and 14 percent are thinking about moving to another state in the next year. The state's Index of Consumer Sentiment is up sharply from our earlier reading in June.
The survey was conducted Sept. 16 to 19, 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 405 registered voters in Rhode Island. Overall, it had a margin of error of about plus or minus five percentage points.
In the hotly contested U.S. Senate race, voters prefer Reed over Mayer by 49 to 32 percent with 4 percent preferring Independent Donald Lovejoy and 15 percent being unsure. In the previous survey conducted in June, voters favored Reed over Mayer by 50 to 25 percent, with 25 percent being unsure.
Mayer holds a lead of 63 to 22 percent over Reed among Republicans, while Reed leads among Democrats by 71 to 15 percent. However, Reed has lost support among the crucial swing group of Independents. He is ahead by 43 to 37 percent among that group, compared to 53 to 22 percent in June.
Reed's job performance number also has dropped from 60 percent excellent or good in June to 50 percent in this survey. Mayer's job performance rating has risen from 55 to 63 percent during this same time period.
In the first congressional district, Kennedy leads Cicione by 63 to 10 percent. Kennedy's job performance rating has risen to 62 percent excellent or good, compared to 55 percent in June.
In the second congressional district, Weygand leads Wild by 52 to 13 percent. Weygand's job performance rating has risen to 48 percent excellent or good, up from 31 percent in June.
In the presidential contest, President Bill Clinton holds a 58 to 17 percent lead over Republican Robert Dole, with Reform party candidate Ross Perot getting 7 percent, Green Party candidate Ralph Nader receiving 4 percent, and 14 percent being undecided. Our last survey in June showed that 49 percent preferred Clinton, 18 percent favored Dole, 11 percent supported Perot, and 22 percent were undecided. Fifty-nine percent feel President Bill Clinton is doing an excellent or good job, up from 49 percent in June.
Voters favor the adoption of direct voter initiative by 44 to 33 percent, with 23 percent being undecided.
When asked who the state's new airport terminal should be named after, the top mentions volunteered were Pell (32 mentions), Theodore F. Green (29 mentions), Mary Brennan (6 mentions), and Roger Williams (5 mentions). Bruce Sundlun had 2 positive mentions and 2 negative mentions. No one else received more than one mention.
Fifty-seven percent of Rhode Islanders say they have thought about moving to another state, compared to 41 percent who have not. The most popular reasons given for moving are a better job (22 percent), the economic climate (14 percent), taxes (12 percent), job loss or insecurity (9 percent), and the political climate (9 percent). Fourteen percent are thinking about moving to another state in the next year, compared to 75 percent who are not.
Four years ago, Brown researchers began using a five-question survey called the Index of Consumer Sentiment for Rhode Island, modeled after a national index of consumer attitudes developed by the University of Michigan. The index was up sharply this time, rising to 82.3 from the June reading of 78.5. Looking back, the index has had the following readings: February 1996: 74.3; September 1995: 73.9; June 1995: 68.8; February 1995: 81.4; September 1994: 82.7; July 1994: 80.1; February 1994: 81.0; September 1993: 74.4; July 1993: 69.8; February 1993: 76; September 1992: 68.3; and June 1992: 76.
Gov. Almond's job performance rating was almost unchanged from the June survey. Thirty percent give him excellent or good ratings, 42 percent rate him only fair, 21 percent rate him poor, and 7 percent have no opinion. In June, 30 percent felt his performance had been excellent or good, 40 percent believed it has been only fair, 21 percent rate him poor, and 9 percent had no opinion.
Sixty-four percent believe Attorney General Jeff Pine is doing an excellent or good job, which is about the same as the 66 percent figure for him in June. Forty-one percent feel Secretary of State Jim Langevin's performance has been excellent or good, up from 34 percent in June. Sixty-three percent feel Pell is doing an excellent or good job, the same as in June. Fifty-three percent feel Sen. John Chafee's performance has been excellent or good versus 52 percent in June.
For more information, contact Darrell M. West at (401) 863-1163.
If the election for president were held today and the candidates were Republican Robert Dole, Democrat Bill Clinton, Reform Party candidate Ross Perot, or Green Party candidate Ralph Nader, would you vote for: 17% Dole,, 58% Clinton, 7% Perot, 4% Nader, 14% don't know or no answer
If the election for U.S. Senate were held today and the candidates were Republican Nancy Mayer, Democrat Jack Reed, or Independent Donald Lovejoy, would you vote for: 32% Mayer, 49% Reed, 4% Lovejoy, 15% don't know or no answer
If the election for the first congressional district were held today, would you vote for the Republican Giovanni Cicione, Democrat Patrick Kennedy, Green Party candidate Graham Schwass, Independent Gregory Raposa, or Independent Michael Rollins? 10% Cicione, 63% Kennedy, 1% Schwass, 1% Raposa, 2% Rollins, 23% don't know or no answer
If the election for the second congressional district were held today, would you vote for the Republican Rick Wild, Democrat Robert Weygand, Independent Gail Casman, Independent Jack Potter, or Independent Thomas Ricci? 13% Wild, 52% Weygand, 2% Casman, 3% Potter, 4% Ricci, 26% don't know or no answer
Should Rhode Island adopt direct voter initiative, which would allow voters to amend the State Constitution and enact state statutes without the approval of the General Assembly? 44% yes, 33% no, 23% 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: 44% better off, 26% worse off financially than you were a year ago, 30% 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: 31% better off financially, 10% worse off, 52% just about the same as now, 7% 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: 32% good times financially, 36% bad times, 32% don't know or no answer
Looking ahead, which would you say is more likely--that in the state as a whole: 33% we'll have continuous good times during the next five years or so, 44% that we will have periods of widespread unemployment or depression, or what, 23% 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: 56% good, 24% bad time for people to buy major household items, 20% don't know or no answer
Did you move to your present residence from: 44% another address in your city/town, 39% another city or town in Rhode Island, 11% another state, 6% other
[Questions for persons who recently moved to Rhode Island from another state:]
Why did you move to Rhode Island? 33% Job, 22% Close to relatives, 6% the environment, 2% Visited it and liked it, 0% Wanted to be in the east, 4% Wanted to be close to water (ocean), 4% Wanted to retire here, 4% Found a great spot, 25% don't know or no answer
Compared to the state you came from, is your:
[Questions for all respondents:]
Have you ever thought of moving to another state? 57% Yes, 41% No, 2% don't know or no answer
If so, can you tell me why? 2% Home (house), 2% Neighborhood, 8% Environment, 22% Better Job, 9% Job loss or job insecurity in RI, 1% Town or City, 12% Taxes, 14% economic climate, 9% Political Climate, 21% don't know or no answer
Are you thinking about moving to another state in the next year? 14% Yes, 75% No, 2% Not sure, 9% don't know or no answer
If so, can you tell me why? 3% Home (house), 5% Neighborhood, 2% Environment, 21% Better Job, 13% Job loss or job insecurity in RI, 2% Town or City, 16% Taxes, 5% economic climate, 12% Political Climate, 21% don't know or no answer
Do you own your own home or do you rent? 68% Own Home, 20% Rent, 12% Other
Has the value of you home: 39% gone up, 24% down or 26% stayed about the same in recent years? 11% don't know or no answer
[Questions for renters only:]
Are you thinking of buying a home? 44% Yes, 56% No
If no, Can you tell me why you are not planning to buy? 37% Income too low, 11% Prices too high, 0% Poor Schools, 0% Taxes too high, 3% Planning to move soon, 16% Prefer to rent, 33% don't know or no answer
[Questions for all respondents:]
How would you rate the job Bill Clinton is doing as president? 7% excellent, 52% good, 30% only fair, 9% poor, 2% don't know or no answer
How would you rate the job Claiborne Pell is doing as U.S. Senator? 23% excellent, 40% good, 21% only fair, 6% poor, 10% don't know or no answer
How would you rate the job John Chafee is doing as U.S. Senator? 11% excellent, 42% good, 24% only fair, 7% poor, 16% don't know or no answer
How would you rate the job Patrick Kennedy is doing as U.S. Representative? 11% excellent, 51% good, 19% only fair, 7% poor, 12% don't know or no answer
How would you rate the job Jack Reed is doing as U.S. Representative? 11% excellent, 39% good, 24% only fair, 8% poor, 18% don't know or no answer
How would you rate the job Lincoln Almond is doing as governor? 4% excellent, 26% good, 42% only fair, 21% poor, 7% don't know or no answer
How would you rate the job Robert Weygand is doing as lieutenant governor? 4% excellent, 44% good, 23% only fair, 7% poor, 22% don't know or no answer
How would you rate the job Jeff Pine is doing as attorney general? 14% excellent, 50% good, 16% only fair, 3% poor, 17% don't know or no answer
How would you rate the job Jim Langevin is doing as secretary of state? 7% excellent, 34% good, 18% only fair, 2% poor, 39% don't know or no answer
How would you rate the job Nancy Mayer is doing as general treasurer? 18% excellent, 45% good, 18% only fair, 2% poor, 17% 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, 37% wrong track, 17% 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): 28% jobs and unemployment, 8% economy, 8% taxes, 7% crime 6% budget, 6% ethics and corruption, 6% education, 6% business climate, 5% government and politicians (all other responses under 5%)
Who do you think the state's new airport terminal should be named after? (open-ended responses with top mentions being): Claiborne Pell (32 mentions), Theodore F. Green (29 mentions), Mary Brennan (6 mentions), and Roger Williams (5 mentions). Bruce Sundlun had 2 positive mentions and 2 negative mentions. No one else received more than one mention.######