Poll shows large Democratic lead for governor, mayor

Raimondo leads Fung by 11 percentage points in the race for governor, Elorza leads by 10 in race for mayor

Staff Writer
Monday, October 27, 2014

Democratic nominees for governor and mayor now hold double-digit leads over their opponents ahead of the Nov. 4 general election, according to a poll released Thursday by the the Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions.

Rhode Island General Treasurer and Democratic candidate for governor Gina Raimondo leads her Republican opponent, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung by 11 percentage points, according to the poll, which surveyed likely voters. Moderate Party candidate Robert Healey is in third place with about 9 percent of the vote.

Raimondo has been ahead of Fung by a comparable margin in three polls since mid-September from WPRI, Rasmussen Reports and the New York Times/CBS News/YouGov, WPRI reported.

The WPRI/Providence Journal survey released Oct. 15 revealed a closer race, putting Raimondo at 42 percent of the vote and Fung at 36 percent.

Though two polls with different sample sizes and time periods cannot be compared directly, the Taubman poll is a more reliable indicator of the status of the race because it sampled a larger population of voters and therefore has a smaller margin of error, wrote Wendy Schiller, associate professor of political science and public policy in an email to The Herald. The Taubman poll sampled 1,129 likely voters, whereas the WPRI poll only surveyed 505.

The Taubman poll results are a “huge swing from the WPRI poll,” said President of Brown Republicans Justin Braga ’16. “Mayor Fung definitely has some work to do.”

Raimondo has likely not been hurt in the polls by the Fung campaign’s attack ads, because they are “not resonating with enough voters” to help pull Fung out of second place, Schiller wrote.

James Morone, director of the Taubman Center, could not be reached for comment by press time.

The Taubman Center conducted two polls of likely voters in Providence, the first from Oct. 14-17 and the second on Oct. 21 and 22  to assess the state of the mayoral race. In the most recent of the two polls, Democratic candidate Jorge Elorza, a former housing court judge, has 48.4 percent of likely voters’ support, a lead he took away from Independent candidate and former mayor Vincent “Buddy” Cianci, who now has 38 percent. Republican candidate Daniel Harrop ’76 MD’79 trails in third place with less than 3 percent of the vote. Nearly 10 percent of voters remain undecided, a slight decline from the 12.2 percent who were undecided in the poll from Oct. 14-17.

The Elorza campaign released a statement to media following the release of the poll results, writing that the poll illustrates the “campaign is gaining the kind of momentum that will be hard to stop heading into the final days of this important elections.” The campaign wrote in an email to The Herald that it could not comment further on the poll results.

The Cianci campaign declined to comment on the results of the poll. The Harrop campaign could not be reached for comment by press time.

Harrop said he will announce Thursday, five days before the election, whether he will drop out of the race, multiple news outlets reported.

It is not likely that Harrop’s supporters will switch their votes to Cianci, Schiller wrote, adding that it is more probable that they will either not vote or still vote for him because his name will remain on the ballot.

Harrop recently donated $1,000 to Elorza’s campaign, a decision that Cianci told WPRI was “an insult to the Republican Party.”

In the lieutenant governor’s race, 46.6 percent of voters are undecided as to which candidate they will support. Democratic candidate Daniel McKee is in the lead with 29.3 percent of the vote over Republican Catherine Taylor, who has 20.2 percent of the vote.

One reason some voters may remain undecided is because the teachers unions have yet to endorse a candidate in this race, Schiller said. Though teachers unions usually support the democratic candidate, McKee supports charter schools, which teachers unions oppose.

In the remaining week before the election, student groups on both sides of the aisle will continue to campaign for their parties’ candidates.

The Brown Democrats have a “strong and intensive plan for (Get Out the Vote) that starts this Monday and will continue until Election Day,” said Meghan Holloway ’16, president of the Brown Democrats. The Brown Democrats have been phone-banking and canvassing for Elorza for several weeks.

The Brown Republicans have been campaigning for Harrop and will continue to doorknock for Fung, Braga said.

Both campaigns received national endorsements. Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came to Rhode Island College Friday on behalf of Raimondo. Former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney came to Providence Oct. 16 to endorse Fung, as did New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie earlier this month.

Both President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will be in Providence later this week to endorse Raimondo.


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  1. One small problem… the poll’s methodology is ludicrously bunk to anyone with even the most rudimentary understanding of electoral dynamics in RI. When you get an outlier poll such as this, you’d think that the first question that would spring to mind is: why? Well, it’s immediately obvious that a statewide poll that includes 44% Providence residents can be thrown into the trash, given that historical data suggests that Providence voters will make up between 10 and 11% of an off-year electorate. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of the problems with this particular poll, but that alone is enough to categorically dismiss the statewide findings.

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