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Taveras’ standing slips in new Brown poll

September 29, 2011

A Brown University poll being released today shows slippage in approval for Providence Mayor Angel Taveras. Back in March, an earlier poll showed him with a 52 percent approval rating. The latest:

The Taubman survey found President Barack Obama’s approval rating among Providencevoters at 56 percent, several points higher than his rating in recent national polls. Mayor Angel Taveras’s approval rating among respondents is below Obama’s. Nearly 48 percent (47.9) of voters rated Taveras’s job performance as excellent or good, while 44 percent rated his performance as only fair or poor. A quarter of the respondents said they had a less favorable opinion of Taveras than they did 10 months ago at the start of his administration. Nearly 21 percent (20.9) said they had a more favorable opinion, and 44 percent said their opinion has remained the same. The survey asked about the recent decision by the Taveras administration to close fourProvidencepublic schools in order to save the city approximately $12 million. Nearly 56 percent (55.9) of the voters said they disagree or strongly disagree with the decision.

Providence voters reported that they are generally satisfied with public services in the city. For example, 79 percent said they were very satisfied or satisfied with garbage collection, about 64 percent (63.7) felt the same way about neighborhood police presence, nearly 89 percent (88.7) felt similarly about fire and ambulance service, and 60 percent replied similarly regarding parks inProvidence. Respondents were most dissatisfied withProvidence public schools and upkeep of roads throughout the city.

The survey also asked questions about the 20 acres of land around downtown that has opened due to the relocation of I-195. Many state and city leaders expect development of the land in the “Knowledge District” to attract high-wage, high-skilled job industries, including life sciences, health care, and research and development. The survey showed that nearly 68 percent (67.9) of registered voters in the city did not know much or anything about the Knowledge District. However, when told about the plan, the same number, nearly 68 percent, believed that the development of the district would help improve the city’s economy and attract businesses to Providence. A smaller percentage, 55 percent, believed the Knowledge District will provide jobs for people living in their neighborhood. Respondents in the survey were divided on whether the area should be renamed the Knowledge District or should continue as the “Jewelry District,” its historical name.

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 29, 2011 7:00 pm

    Unless I am reading your March article and the Brown poll incorrectly, the March, 2011 survey was statewide. This one is of Providence voters. Please check and correct, if necessary. See: The survey was conducted March 11-13, 2011, by researchers at the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions and the John Hazen White Public Opinion Laboratory at Brown University. It is based on a statewide random sample of 425 registered voters in Rhode Island. Overall, the poll has a margin of error of about plus or minus 4.7 percentage points.

    However, in the event that both surveys measured Providence voter opinion a comparition of the results of the two quickly reveals that in statistical terms there is absolutely no reason to believe that there has been any change in how the mayor is doing. When one considers a comparision of two polls it must be realized that the margin of error between the two polls being compared is larger than the margin of error of a single poll.

    As for the current survey:

    The Brown release headline reads: Providence voters are nearly divided in their support for Mayor Angel Taveras, and a large majority — 86 percent — believe the city’s economy is not recovering well from the economic recession:

    Tavares won the primary with 49% of the vote; the poll simply shows that nothing much may have changed–44% have not changed their opinion, 21% are more favorable and 26% less favorable than they were 10 months ago. Without a cross tab of how they voted it’s impossible to tell if anything has changed at all.

    Interestingly, however, Tavares won with 49%–47% say he is doing a good to excellent job, 45% fair to poor.

    As for the failure of the economy to recover quickly, the question does not appear to ever have been asked….but 86% do think that Providence’s economy is not so good or poor. Interestingly, however, more think that their personal economic situation has improved in the past year than think that it has gotten worse (47% to 34%).

    Relative to service quality, Brown sought opinion opinions on city services in March, 1999 when Buddy Cianci was mayor. Reactions were nearly identical with those found in the most recent survey for every single city service for which comparative data is available. (Police, fire, garbage, street maintenance, and public transportation.)

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