Distributed October 22, 2002
News Service Contact: Mark Nickel
Taubman Center public opinion survey
Voters want Harwood out as speaker, are divided about military in Iraq
A survey of 418 statewide voters conducted Oct. 19-21, 2002, finds a majority of voters want John Harwood to step down as speaker. The survey also finds Democrat Myrth York leading Republican Don Carcieri in the race for governor. A majority of voters feel the state is headed in the wrong direction.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Sixty-two percent of Rhode Island voters want House Speaker John Harwood to resign, according to a new public opinion survey by researchers at Brown University. The poll also found that Rhode Island voters are divided about any military action in Iraq that would try to remove Saddam Hussein from power.
The survey was conducted Oct. 19-21, 2002, by Darrell M. West, director of the Taubman Center for Public Policy and the John Hazen White Sr. Public Opinion Laboratory. It is based on a statewide random sample of 418 likely voters in Rhode Island. Overall, the poll had a margin of error of about plus or minus 5 percentage points.
Sixty-two percent of voters believe that John Harwood should step down as speaker, 16 percent do not, and 22 percent are unsure. When asked to rate his performance as House speaker, 13 percent say he is doing an excellent or good job, 18 percent feel he is doing only fair, 44 percent believe his job performance is poor, and 25 percent are unsure. Last June, 25 percent said Harwood was doing a good or excellent job, 21 percent said his job performance was only fair, 23 percent described it as poor, and 31 percent were unsure.
Fifty-two percent believe the state is headed off on the wrong track, while 33 percent say it is going in the right direction. Last June, 43 percent felt the state was headed in the right direction, while 43 percent believed it was off on the wrong track.
Voters are divided about U.S. military action in Iraq that would try to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Forty-seven percent approve military action, 32 percent disapprove, and 21 percent are undecided.
President George Bush continues to enjoy high job approval ratings within the state. Fifty-nine percent give him good or excellent marks, while 25 percent rate him only fair, 14 percent say his performance is poor, and 2 percent are unsure. Last June, 62 percent believed he was doing a good or excellent job. While Sen. Lincoln Chafee voted against the congressional resolution authorizing the use of military action, 59 percent rate Chafee’s job performance excellent or good, 21 percent say it has been only fair, 10 percent claim it has been poor, and 10 percent are unsure. Last June, 53 percent rated his job performance as excellent or good.
In the race for governor, 41 percent favor Democrat Myrth York, 34 percent support Republican Don Carcieri, and 25 percent are undecided.
Among First District voters, Rep. Patrick Kennedy leads Republican David Rogers by 44 to 27 percent, with independent Frank Carter receiving 2 percent of the vote, and 27 percent saying they are undecided. Last June, Kennedy led Rogers by 49 to 29 percent, with 22 percent undecided. In the Second District, Rep. James Langevin holds a lead of 49 to 18 percent over Republican John Matson, with Home Protection Party candidate Dorman Hayes receiving 1 percent, and 32 percent undecided.
Sen. Jack Reed leads Republican Bob Tingle by 61 to 14 percent with 25 percent undecided.
Lt. Gov. Charles Fogarty earns support from 34 percent, compared to 15 percent for Republican John Pagliarini, 11 percent for Cool Moose Party candidate Robert Healey Jr., 2 percent for Green Party candidate Gregg Stevens, and 38 percent who say they are undecided.
In the race for attorney general, Democrat Patrick Lynch leads Independent William Harsch by 47 to 19 percent, with 34 percent undecided. In the contest for secretary of state, Democrat Matt Brown is favored by 46 to 16 over Republican Christopher Stanley, with 38 percent undecided. In the race for general treasurer, incumbent Paul Tavares leads Republican Andrew Lyon by 49 to 17 percent, with 34 percent undecided.
State voters favor the “separation of powers” item that is on the fall ballot. By 71 to 7 percent, voters say they believe Rhode Island should have legislative, executive and judicial branches that are separate and co-equal.
There is a close contest for the referendum item that would authorize general obligation bonds of up to $14 million to support recreational development, historical preservation and the Heritage Harbor Museum. While 43 percent say they support this bond measure, 36 percent are opposed and 21 percent are undecided.
Nearing the end of his term, Gov. Lincoln Almond does not earn favorable job ratings. Twenty-eight percent give him excellent or good ratings, 35 percent say his performance has been only fair, 31 percent rate it poor, and 6 percent are unsure. Last June, 28 percent gave Almond excellent or good ratings, 37 percent rated him only fair, 26 percent rated him poor, and 9 percent were uncertain.
For more information, contact Darrell M. West at (401) 863-1163.
Survey Questions and Responses
In the U.S. Senate race, do you plan to vote for: 14% Republican Robert Tingle, 61% Democrat Jack Reed, 25% don’t know or no answer
(194 First District likely voters only) In the race for the First Congressional District, do you plan to vote for: 27% Republican David Rogers, 44% Democrat Patrick Kennedy, 2% independent Frank Carter, 27% don’t know or no answer
(214 Second District likely voters only) In the race for the Second Congressional District, do you plan to vote for: 18% Republican John Matson, 49% Democrat James Langevin, 1% Home Protection party candidate Dorman Hayes, 32% don’t know or no answer
In the race for governor, do you plan to vote for: 34% Republican Don Carcieri, 41% Democrat Myrth York, 25% don’t know or no answer
In the race for lieutenant governor, do you plan to vote for: 15% Republican John Pagliarini, 34% Democrat Charles Fogarty, 2% Green party candidate Gregg Stevens, 11% Cool Moose party candidate Robert Healey, Jr., 38% don’t know or no answer
In the race for secretary of state, do you plan to vote for: 16% Republican Christopher Stanley, 46% Democrat Matt Brown, 38% don’t know or no answer
In the race for attorney general, do you plan to vote for: 19% Independent William Harsch, 47% Democrat Patrick Lynch, 34% don’t know or no answer
In the race for general treasurer, do you plan to vote for: 17% Republican Andrew Lyon, 49% Democrat Paul Tavares, 34% don’t know or no answer
How would you rate the job George W. Bush is doing as president? 19% Excellent, 40% good, 25% only fair, 14% poor, 2% don’t know or no answer
How would you rate the job Lincoln Chafee is doing as U.S. senator? 13% Excellent, 46% good, 21% only fair, 10% poor, 10% don’t know or no answer
How would you rate the job Lincoln Almond is doing as governor? 3% Excellent, 25% good, 35% only fair, 31% poor, 6% don’t know or no answer
How would you rate the job John Harwood is doing as speaker of the House? 1% Excellent, 12% good, 18% only fair, 44% poor, 25% don’t know or no answer
In light of the current controversy surrounding Speaker John Harwood, do you think he should step down as speaker of the House? 62% yes, 16% no, 22% don’t know or no answer
Generally speaking, would you say things in Rhode Island are going in the right direction, or have they gotten off on the wrong track? 33% right direction, 52% wrong track, 15% don’t know or no answer
Do you approve of the United States taking military action against Iraq to try to remove Saddam Hussein from power? 47% approve, 32% disapprove, 21% don’t know or no answer
Do you think Rhode Island should have legislative, executive, and judicial branches that are separate and co-equal? 71% yes, 7% no, 22% don’t know or no answer
Do you think Rhode Island should issue general obligation bonds of up to $14 million to support recreational development, historical preservation and the Heritage Harbor Museum? 43% Yes, 36% no, 21% don’t know or no answer