This morning, Providence Monthly convened a panel of political reporters and editors to dicuss the state of political reporting - and, really, all kinds of reporting - in Rhode Island.
It was a good group - Tim Murphy, assistant managing editor for public policy at the Providence Journal, reporters Tim White and Ted Nesi of WPRI-TV, Rhode Island Public Radio political reporter Ian Donnis, reporter Erika Niedowski of the Associated Press, news editor and reporter Dan McGowan of golocalprov, and myself.
Congressman David Cicilline has a slight edge on his Republican opponent, Brendan Doherty, 46-40, in a new poll out of Brown University.
The poll, conducted September 26-October 5, is the first to collect at least some public opinion data since the launch of Doherty's television advertising campaign on October 1 attacking Cicilline, the former Providence mayor, for his handling of the city's finances and his less-than-forthcoming declarations on those finances during the 2010 Congressional campaign.
Back in May, the US Chamber of Commerce paid to run a TV ad promoting Republican Congressional candidate Brendan Doherty. "This lawman has a plan," the spot said of Doherty, former superintendent of the state police, trumpeting his call for lower taxes and infrastructure improvements.
But until now, at least, that spot appears an outlier.
Republican Congressional hopeful Brendan Doherty is out with a new ad, "The Cicilline Cover Up," attacking Congressman David Cicilline for misleading voters about Providence's finances.
This is a tough ad - ominous music, dark skies, the words "incompetent, irresponsible, deceitful" flashing up on the screen at the end.
Women voters may very well determine the outcome of the race pitting Congressman David Cicilline against Republican challenger Brendan Doherty.
Indeed, Cicilline's six-point edge on Doherty in a recent WPRI-TV poll is powered by his 13-point advantage among female voters. And Doherty's camp appears hyper-aware of its need to cut into the incumbent's margin.
The Washington Post reports that Rhode Island is among 19 states that will have no exit polling on Election Day this year. This marks a break from tradition; for the last five presidential elections, there have been exit polls in all 50 states.
The National Election Pool - a consortium of the Associated Press and the major networks - made the decision because of the rising cost of surveys.
A new WPRI-TV poll shows Congressman David Cicilline up on Republican rival Brendan Doherty by six points. It is, in some respects, a remarkable turnabout from WPRI's last poll, in February, which showed Doherty up by 15 points.
"I'm surprised at how well David Cicilline has orchestrated turning this
around," WPRI pollster Joe Fleming told the station
A couple of weeks ago Ian Prior, campaign manager for Republican Congressional candidate Brendan Doherty, told me Doherty's race against Congressman David Cicilline would be won or lost in October.
Fitting, then, that the Doherty campaign would release its first ad attacking Providence mayor-turned-Congressman Cicilline on his handling of the capital city's finances - and his now infamous declaration that the city was in "excellent" fiscal condition - on October 1.
Over the last couple of months, more than one pundit has proclaimed that Republican Congressional candidate Brendan Doherty - who stumbled in some early media appearances - would struggle against Democratic Congressman David Cicilline.
Well, WJAR-TV has taped the first debate of the general election season - a sitdown affair for its weekend "News Conference" show (it's available online now) - and Doherty is surprisingly strong.
Brown University's Taubman Center released a new poll of Providence residents yesterday. Nothing terribly revelatory: residents are concerned about the city's finances, but still like their mayor.
I don't begrudge Brown this poll. It was taken in conjunction with an annual urban affairs conference and will serve some purpose there, I'm sure.
Congressman David Cicilline's new ad features what appears to be a bit of undercover video showing GOP challenger Brendan Doherty declaring that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney would be "fantastic for Rhode Island."
The push to tie Doherty to big-name Republicans like Romney, unpopular in Rhode Island, is no great surprise.
In the last couple of weeks, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and Congressman David Cicilline have released figures from a set of three polls suggesting that Cicilline has a six-to-11-point lead over his Republican challenger Brendan Doherty.
Neither the DCCC nor Cicilline agreed to release the full polls.
Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown was a bit off in his debate with Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren last night. My colleague at the Boston Phoenix, David Bernstein, suggests that perhaps he was under the weather. And there may be something to that.
But even if he was a touch ill, I think he was in the grips of another, bigger problem.
The battle between Democratic Congressman David Cicilline and
Republican Brendan Doherty has focused squarely, in recent days, on
But much of the chatter about those polls is misguided. I'll get to that shortly. First, the basics on the survey.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the House Democrats' campaign wing,
has commissioned two polls in Rhode Island's First Congressional
District recent weeks - one a bare-bones, robo-call survey and the other
a more sophisticated poll.
This morning brought a third Democratic poll giving Congressman David Cicilline a significant lead on Republican Brendan Doherty.
This one, from Cicilline's pollster the Feldman Group, gives the incumbent a 46-36 lead on his GOP challenger, with 7 percent backing independent candidate David Vogel.
Doherty has declined to release his own internal polling.