PROVIDENCE â€“ A whopping 94.2 percent of Rhode Islanders say the state economy is poor or not so good and only 16.7 percent expressed confidence that state leaders would make the right decision about the Ocean Stateâ€™s future, according to a Brown University poll released on Thursday.
At the same time, 60.4 percent of those polled said they support same-sex marriage and 26 percent oppose it. Of those who support it, 62.1 percent say they strongly favor it; 32.5 favor it â€śsomewhat.â€ť Of those who oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry, 59.5 strongly oppose it and 32 percent are â€śsomewhatâ€ť in opposition.
The poll of 593 Rhode Island voters was conducted Feb. 21-23 by the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions and the John Hazen White Public Opinion Laboratory at Brown University. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.
In this heavily Democratic state, voters expressed slightly more confidence in Democratic state legislators rather than Republicans to make the right decisions. Just over 23 percent expressed a good or great level of confidence in Democrats while 13.7 percent expressed a good or great level of confidence in Republicans.
Although 83.7 percent of those surveyed said the national economy is â€śnot so goodâ€ť or poor and 94.2 said the same about the state economy â€“ 0.0 percent said the state economy is in â€śexcellentâ€ť shape and only 4.7 percent gave it even a â€śgoodâ€ť ranking -- a majority, 56.7 percent said their own personal finances are in â€śgoodâ€ť or â€śexcellentâ€ť shape.
Only 20.7 percent of those surveyed said they think things in Rhode Island are going in the right direction while 63.4 percent say the state is off on the wrong track. Another 11.6 percent gave the state a â€śmixedâ€ť verdict.
Of those who support same-sex marriage, nearly half, 49.2 percent say they do because it is an issue of equal rights and freedom; another 27.7 percent believe it is a personal choice; that love and happiness matter more than sexual orientation; 6.6 percent believe â€śEveryone is equal in Godâ€™s eyes, and 4/8 percent say they donâ€™t think it is their or the governmentâ€™s business.
Of the opponents, 40.8 percent cited religion as the basis of their opinion; 22.4 said marriage should be between a man and a woman; 10.5 percent said civil unions, already legal in Rhode Island, are sufficient, and 7.9 percent believe it is morally wrong.
How are our elected officials doing?
The highest job approval numbers of all went to Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, with 20.4 percent ranking him excellent, 43.3 percent good, 17.5 only fair and 5.9 percent poor.
President Barack Obama is doing an excellent job, according to 16.2 percent of those polled, while 35.4 percent say his is doing a good job, 23.1 only fair and 24.8 poor.
Sen. Jack Reed, who faces re-election in 2014, gets a 15.5 excellent rating, 38.6 percent good, 26 percent only fair and 13 percent poor.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse: 10.6 percent excellent; 33.1 percent good; 27.7 only fair and 31.9 percent poor.
First District Rep. David Cicilline is still struggling with his job approval numbers, only 3.2 percent say he is doing an excellent job and just 23.9 percent give him a good, 27.7 rank him only fair and 31.9 give him a poor rating.
In the 2nd Congressional District, Rep Jim Langevin has an 8.3 percent excellent rating, 33.1 percent good, 28 percent only fait and 18.2 percent poor.
Just 4.9 percent of Rhode Islanders think Gov. Lincoln Chafee is doing an excellent job, 20.6 give him good ranking, while 30 percent say he is only fair and 42.2 percent think he is doing a poor job.
Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts earns the same 4.9 excellent rating as Chafee and 26 percent say she is doing a good job, 28.5 percent rate her as only fair and 11.3 percent poor.
General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, widely believed to be eyeing a bid for governor in 2014, got a 25.6 excellent rating, 30 percent good, 15.3 only fair and 9.9 percent poor.
Attorney General Peter Kilmartin scores 3.5 percent excellent, 30.7 percent good, 24.5 only fair and 6.9 percent poor.
Secretary of State Ralph Mollis garnered a 6.1 excellent rating, 28 percent good, 29.2 only fair and 7.4 percent poor.
Among General Assembly leaders, House Speaker Gordon Fox eked out the top spot over Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed. Fox scored 2.2 percent excellent, 21.1 percent good, 26.5 only fair and 25 percent poor while Weed ranked 2.5 percent excellent, 18.4 percent good, 18 percent only fair and 23.1 percent poor. The slight difference may be that 31 percent said they didnâ€™t know or didnâ€™t answer the question on Paiva Weed while only 25.2 said that about Fox.