Here's an argument you'll often hear from opponents of same-sex marriage: it's a sideshow, a distraction from the real work of fixing Rhode Island's economy, a concern of a relatively small group of gays, lesbians, and their progressive allies.
But a new Brown University poll provides a challenge to that line of argument.
A new poll commissioned by the National Organization for Marriage finds Rhode Islanders want voters - not legislators - to decide the fate of same-sex marriage by a 74-20 margin.
NOM, of course, opposes gay nuptials. And same-sex marriage supporters will undoubtedly quibble with the way the organization phrased the questions in the survey.
WPRI superblogger Ted Nesi delivered new Public Policy Polling figures on the nascent Rhode Island gubernatorial race this morning. And the headlines were not entirely surprising: Treasurer Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, is the early frontrunner and Governor Lincoln Chafee, an independent, faces a tough road to re-election.
The election was, of course, sweet vindication for the New York Times blogger Nate Silver. He called all 50 states in the presidential race correctly, struck a blow for math, and made Joe Scarborough look more than a little silly.
But today, at a lunchtime talk at Brown University's Taubman Center for Public Policy & American Institutions, another numbers man - Michael Dimock, associate director of research for the Pew Research Center - laid out a compelling two-part critique of Silver and other poll aggregators like Simon Jackman of the Huffington Post.
A WPRI-TV poll released October 30 had Congressman David Cicilline clinging to a one-point lead over his Republican challenger as the campaign entered its home stretch. And it was hardly the only survey suggesting a tight race.
The television station conducted a poll a month earlier that gave Cicilline a 6-point lead. A Brown University poll released shortly thereafter found the same gap.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
This morning, I dug a little deeper into the new WPRI poll that shows Republican Congressional candidate Brendan Doherty with a substantial lead - 49 to 34 percent - on incumbent Democratic Congressman David Cicilline. And I compared it to previous polls.
A couple of curious findings leap out.
In a May 2011 poll commissioned by WPRI, Doherty had a 46-point lead among independents - news of Providence's fiscal woes weighing heavily on Cicilline, fresh off a two-term stint as mayor of the capital city.