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Cicilline holds 12-point primary lead over Gemma

August 27, 2012

Incumbent Democratic Congressman David Cicilline holds a double-digit lead over his primary opponent, businessman Anthony Gemma, according to a WPRI-Channel 12 public opinion survey released tonight.

The survey of 302 registered voters in the First Congressional District shows Cicilline with 43 percent, Gemma at 31 percent, about 20 percent undecided and 4 percent supporting perennial candidate Christopher Young. A similar Channel 12 poll in May gave Cicilline a 4 point lead over Gemma.

The poll was conducted by veteran Channel 12 pollster Joseph Fleming between August 19 and 22. It carries an error margin of nearly 6 percent.

Among other poll findings: More voters believe that Cicilline has done a fair or poor job than a good or excellent job. Cicilline’s job numbers: 7 percent chose excellent, 33 percent good, 29 percent fair, 23 percent poor. Seven percent said they did not know.

Fifty-six percent of voters sampled said President Obama is doing an excellent or good job, versus 43 percent who say his performance has been fair or poor. Just one percent had no opinion of the president’s job performance.

The poll also showed that a large slice of voters –44 percent – say that Cicilline’s stewardship of  Providence finances while he was mayor is a “very important’’ issue. That is trouble for Cicilline, the former Providence mayor who has been dogged by the perception that he failed to be candid about city finances during his 2010 campaign for Congress.

The survey also shows that Gemma’s allegations of  voter fraud in Rhode Island elections have not resonated with a majority of the primary electorate. When asked `How confident are you that Rhode Island’s elections are fair and honest?’, 25 percent said very confident, 39 percent said somewhat confident, 16 percent said less than confident and 15 percent said not confident at all.

Yet, because the bulk of the poll was done before Gemma’s news conference last week on voter fraud, there is a possibility that his message has not had enough time to sink in.

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