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Parsing the Brown poll

December 15, 2011

If you are wondering why Democratic Congressman David Cicilline wants to make substantial changes to the 1st Congressional District that he won in 2010 when he was mayor of Providence, take a gander at the latest Brown University public opinion survey.

The survey, supervised by Brown political science professor Marion Orr, had a sample of 464 registered voters statewide. Of that sample, 316 were from the 1st Congressional District and just 148 from the 2nd Congressional District, represented by James Langevin.

Digging into the numbers shows just how much trouble Cicilline faces. Just 31 percent of Democrats rated Cicilline’s job performance either excellent or good, 21 percent of independents gave him good or excellent marks and 17 percent of Republicans stated Cicilline was good or excellent.

The other interesting part of the survey was State General Treasurer Gina Raimondo’s ascension in the polls. On the heels of her leadership of state pension overhaul, Democrat Raimondo was viewed favorably by 52 percent of respondents, up from 39 percent in a Brown poll in March, 2011. Yet Raimondo was viewed most favorably by Republicans (61 percent) and independents (60 percent) but received favorable ratings from just 37 percent of Democrats.

The other highly rated newly elected politician is Providence Democratic Mayor Angel Taveras, who is viewed favorably by 52 percent, the same rating as Raimondo.

Governor Lincoln Chafee, an independent, has seen his favorability ratings drop from 32 percent to 27 percent. Democrats approve of Chafee at a much higher level (39 percent) than Republicans (15 percent) and independents (22 percent).



3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 15, 2011 10:31 pm

    316 of the sample of 464 came from the first congressional district (68% of sample); can’t imagine what slight of hand Brown did to get this number since it’s a virtual impossibility in a randomly sample that is proportioned to represent actual voter contribution in a presidential election year. In 2004 and 2008 (48% of the congressional vote totals actually came from the first district). Maye the district is growing faster, at least on college hill, than could be measured by the Census Bureau.

    And, as to Chafee, when one factors in the margin of error in the poll, there is absolutely no way of knowing whether Chafee’s numbers went down or even changed at all.

  2. December 17, 2011 9:36 pm

    Cicilline does better with the combined Independent and Republican vote than he does witrh Democrats, 38% t0 31% if your numbers are correct. ? If that is right then he is in fairly decent shape gven the fact that Independendents, and some Republicans, may vote for him kowing how difficult it is to elect a Republican here, Machtley and Schneider nothwithstanding. Young voters, like the college crowd, don’t even remember a Republican from RI serving in Washington.

    If Progfughi is right than the skewing of the sample for more voters in CD-1 suggest the numbers may be at best, circumspect or possibly showing Cicilline in better shape than many think.

    I think Langevin’s suggetion for a rectangular portion of Providence centering around Mount Pleasant and the Valley Street/Academy Avenue area is the best solution to adding the necessary 7200+ voters to C-1 to satisfy the new Census figures because not only does it not disrupt most Providence voters,those areas are more contiguous to where CD-1 is now, along the Smith Street axis.

    Taking 7200+ voters from the upper South Providence level is still a contrivance to assist Cicillione in re-election though not as much as the so-caled “preliminary plan” which would have given him virtually all of Democratic Providence. Moving any portion of Southside into CD-1 violates the reapportionment princple of respecting “natural” boundaries because it crosses the Providence River and puts South Providence community needs coupled with the East Side which is ludicrous to even contemplate. The whole of the Southside and West End have simmilar civic culture and community needs, those areas should be left in CD-2.

    This whole proces has gone beyond tradtional “gerrymandering”, it is blatantly wrong, probably illegal (except that politicians in the General Assembly make the laws), and should be challenged in court. Langevin’s plan is the only sensible solution but we can all guess how,why this came about and who contrived it. It has been a wasteful and egregious expenditure of $ 700,000 in public money paid to that consultant Kimball Brace and his company Election Data Services. All they have done, and even with some in-state- legislative districts,is to do what a few key politicians have told them to do.

    Other states have re-apportioned at virtually no cost. Next time arund re-apportionment shoul be done by a citizens’ non-partisan commisson authorized in law and/or with a state constitutional amendment..

  3. December 17, 2011 10:12 pm

    Joe is on target in everything he says. However, since Brown tells us nothing about the specific demographics sampled, and how the sample is divided, there is no way of knowing if the congressman is doing better or worse than the numbers indicate. For example, if the sample includes too many or two few Democrats, Republicans, or Independents the results could be very different.

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