A new WPRI poll gives Congressman David Cicilline a razor-thin lead of 43-42 over Republican challenger Brendan Doherty. He had a 6-point edge in a survey the television station conducted a month ago.
This is the first independent, public poll conducted wholly after Doherty put up ads attacking Cicilline - and the first indication that they may be moving voters.
The survey shows Cicilline with a commanding 74-11 lead over Doherty among Democrats, suggesting that his efforts to tie Doherty to the national GOP have paid dividends with his base. But he's trailing badly among independents, with Doherty up 54-28.
It seems unlikely that Cicilline could pivot out of his partisan frame on the race at this point. He's counting on Democratic and lean-Democratic voters to deliver him a victory in a presidential election year. Now, his ground game his vital.
Among those he needs to turn out: the Latinos and blacks he added to his district over the winter in a remarkable bit of gerrymandering. In a tight race, they could make the difference.