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On the WPRI Poll

WPRI-TV is out with a new poll that shows Republican Congressional candidate Brendan Doherty with a double-digit lead over incumbent Democratic Congressman David Cicilline. From WPRI:

Congressman David Cicilline is headed for a double-digit defeat at the hands of Republican Brendan Doherty unless he finds a way to win back a large number of voters by November, according to an exclusive WPRI 12 poll released Monday evening.

The new survey of 250 registered voters in Rhode Island's 1st Congressional District shows Doherty, a former state police superintendent, would defeat Cicilline 49% to 34%, with 16% of voters undecided. Doherty's lead over Cicilline has grown by two points since the last WPRI 12 poll in May.

Cicilline is losing to Doherty among every subgroup of voters except self-identified Democrats and those ages 18 to 39. "He's moved the needle, but unfortunately for him in the wrong direction," WPRI 12 political analyst Joe Fleming said. "Clearly, whatever he's tried to turn it around hasn't worked to this point."

This is, without a doubt, bad news for Cicilline. But if there's a silver lining, it's this: the poll comes in the wake of another burst of bad news about the Providence budget and Cicilline was able to rebound, at least temporarily, after the last such burst. He did so, in part, because the debt limit debate focused Rhode Islanders' attention on national issues - and the state cleaves to Democrats in that arena. As election season comes around, the differences between Democrats and Republicans on national issues should, once again, come to the fore.

Cicilline can also take some solace in potential Democratic challenger Anthony Gemma's poor numbers against Doherty; the poll could neutralize Gemma's electability argument - that he'd fare much better against Doherty than Cicilline.

In the end, though, there is this: the new burst of bad news around Providence's finances shows the staying power of what is, clearly, Cicilline's kryptonite. All in all, it looks like tough sledding for the freshman Democrat.

 

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