Brown poll: Raimondo, Taveras in statistical tie

Angel Taveras, Gina Raimondo

A recent Brown University poll shows a tight contest shaping up in the race for Rhode Island governor.

The poll, which was taken last week and sampled 600 Rhode Islanders who said they are likely to vote in the Democratic primary, has General Treasurer Gina Raimondo with a three-point lead over Angel Taveras.

Raimondo had 29 percent and Taveras had 26 percent, a statistical dead heat when you factor in the margin of error which was plus or minus 4 percent. Clay Pell had 10 percent.

But leading all candidates are voters who are undecided.

"What's interesting about this poll is the very large number of undecided voters," said Tony Affigne, political science professor at Providence College.

Maybe the candidate left out of the survey will be able to collect some of those votes, Todd Giroux.

"It's a shame when the people of Main Street don't have a voice in the race. I remain focused on my message to bring an infrastructure fund to the state of Rhode Island," Giroux said.

Affigne believes the primary race is going to be close.

"The gap between their issue positions is so small I don't think positions will determine who wins the primary at all. I don't think issues and position statements and policies will be what determines who wins this Democratic primary," he said.

Affigne said the winner will benefit from campaign organization and endorsements that bring out primary voters. But he sees in the pool a signal about the general election in November.

"That large number of undecided voters is an indication of something. It isn't just an uncertainty about which of those announced candidates the respondents will support. It may also be soft support for all four of them. Which means this poll might be telling us something about the general election, and whether or not these Democratic candidates will need to work much harder between September and November in order to keep the Democrats in the fold," he said.

On the Republican side, 36 percent of likely voters were backing Ken Block with 31 percent supporting Cranston Mayor Allan Fung. Of those likely to vote, 38 percent of the Republican primary voters were still undecided.