Updated: Tuesday, 09 Nov 2010, 10:39 AM EST
Published : Friday, 29 Oct 2010, 4:45 PM EDT
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - Few Rhode Islanders want to remove the words "and Providence Plantations" from the state's formal name, our exclusive WPRI 12 poll shows, signaling that an effort to do so at the ballot box next Tuesday is likely to fail.
The survey of 500 likely voters finds 71 percent oppose switching their home's official moniker from "The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations" to just "The State of Rhode Island." Only 16 percent favor the change.
The remaining 13 percent are undecided with less than four days to go before voters go to the polls.
Those who support deleting "and Providence Plantations" argue it evokes Rhode Island's role in the slave trade, but opponents counter that the name was not related to slavery and is a part of the state's history.
Union members and younger voters are the most likely to favor the change, but even among those two groups only about 20 percent support it. Just 10 percent of voters ages 60 and older back the proposal.
The telephone poll was conducted last Thursday through Monday by Fleming & Associates of Cumberland, R.I. The survey had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus approximately 4.38 percentage points.
WPRI 12 will release new poll results for the 1st Congressional District contest between David Cicilline and John Loughlin at 6 p.m. Friday.
G.O.P. in minority for 52 years
Our WPRI 12 poll also finds Democrats have a double-digit advantage among likely voters when it comes to what party's candidate they would prefer to send to the General Assembly for the new session that starts in January.
The survey finds 42 percent would choose a Democrat if the election were held today, while 29 percent would select a Republican and 12 percent someone from a different party. The remaining 16 percent are unsure.
Democratic General Assembly candidates have a 25-point advantage among voters ages 18 to 39 and a 20-point advantage among women. But the gap separating them from the Republicans is only five points among men and three points in the 2nd Congressional District.
Independent voters are split three ways, with 28 percent favoring a Republican, 28 percent still unsure and 26 percent supporting a Democrat.
Republicans have been in the minority in Rhode Island's state legislature for more than half a century now, according to the Rhode Island State Library.
The last time the G.O.P. controlled one of the General Assembly's two chambers was 1958, when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president. The last time the party held both chambers was 1940, the year before the U.S. entered World War II.
But even though voters appear poised to return Democratic lawmakers to power at the State House, they are not happy with everything they've done recently.
Our poll shows 68 percent of Rhode Islanders blame the General Assembly for the unhappy return of the car tax, compared with just 12 percent who blame local officials. Another 20 percent are unsure who to blame.
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