A second independent poll now shows Democratic Congressman David Cicilline has built a six-point lead over Republican challenger Brendan Doherty in Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District.
A Brown University survey released Wednesday morning shows Cicilline at 46%, Doherty at 40% and independent David Vogel at 7%, with another 7% of voters undecided. Brown’s findings mirror the results of last week’s WPRI 12 poll, which showed Cicilline at 44% and Doherty at 38%.
The survey also shows Democratic Congressman Jim Langevin ahead by 18 points in the 2nd District. Langevin is at 49%, Republican Michael Riley is at 32% and independent Abel Collins is at 5%, with 14% undecided. Incumbent Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse has a 29-point lead for U.S. Senate, with Whitehouse at 59%, Republican Barry Hinckley at 30% and 12% of voters still undecided.
Brown said the telephone survey of 496 registered Rhode Island voters was conducted over 10 days, from Sept. 26 to Oct. 5, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points on statewide questions. Brown said the survey sample for the races included 236 likely voters in the 1st Congressional District and 235 likely voters in the 2nd District, with a 6.3-point margin of error for district-only questions.
The poll contains good news for most of Rhode Island’s leaders, with job approval ratings improving since February for all of them except Langevin, whose approval fell from 47% to 41%, and House Speaker Gordon Fox, whose approval fell from 26% to 18%, which makes Fox the state’s least popular politician.
Approval ratings spiked the most for Whitehouse, who jumped from 30% in February to 45%; Cicilline, who went from 15% to 30%; President Obama, who improved from 40% to 55%; and U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, who rose from 47% to 59%. Governor Chafee’s approval rating is a dismal 29%, though that’s up from 22%.
The most popular politician in the Brown poll is Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, who recorded a stellar 66% approval rating statewide, up from 60% in February. Behind him is Treasurer Gina Raimondo, whose 59% approval rating was basically unchanged since last winter.
The survey also found higher approval ratings for Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts (38%), Attorney General Peter Kilmartin (36%) and Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed (26%). Secretary of State Ralph Mollis’s approval rating was unchanged from February at 29%, the same as Chafee’s.
In the presidential race, the Brown poll shows Barack Obama at 58% and Mitt Romney at 32% in Rhode Island, with 10% of voters undecided. The survey also finds 77% of voters disagree with the Cranston schools’ recent decision to effectively ban father-daughter dances in the district.
Rhode Islanders remain deeply dissatisfied with the state’s economy, which has been struggling with double-digit unemployment for three and a half years: 93% of voters described Rhode Island’s economy as poor or not so good, while 81% said the same about the U.S. economy. They felt better about their own personal situations, with only 38% of voters describing their personal finances as poor or not so good.
In addition, 61% of voters say Rhode Island is on the wrong track against 16% who say the state is heading in the right direction; 55% approve of Obama’s handling of the economy; and more than half say they’ll vote to allow table games at the state’s two gaming facilities.