A new poll out of Brown University this morning has independent Lincoln Chafee leading the gubernatorial race and the electorate down on incumbents.
The poll shows Chafee with a 34 to 28 percent edge over Democrat Frank Caprio, should he win the party's nomination. The gap is even wider in a match-up with Democrat Patrick Lynch - 33 percent to 18 percent. Republican John Robitaille is not far behind Lynch, with 14 percent.
These are not good numbers for Lynch, as he tries to build the case among voters and donors that he would be the best Democrat to take on Chafee in the general election. And he trails Caprio in a Democratic primary match-up: 30-21 percent.
The poll, meanwhile, gives a major boost to Chafee, who has lagged in fundraising. A WPRI-TV poll released early this month had him in a dead heat with Caprio and up 11 points on Lynch.
The poll also shows deep concern over the economy and an utter lack of confidence in Rhode Island leaders: just 12 percent of respondents said they have "a great deal of confidence" or "a good amount of confidence" in the state's top brass to make the right decisions for the state's future. And the GOP does not seem to be taking advantage of the situation: while just 18 percent said they have a "great deal" or a "good amount" of confidence in Democratic legislators, only 10 percent gave Republican legislators the same marks.
A couple more notes: Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline, gearing up for a run for Congress, has a 41 percent job approval rating - not much changed from previous marks over the last year. Not good, but trailing only Caprio among state and local officials. Caprio comes in at 43 percent.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, whose approval ratings were poor in the WPRI poll, continues to struggle. Just 32 percent give him good marks on job performance.