Brown poll: Clinton, Trump still on top in RI

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A new poll released Sunday by Brown University suggests Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump are leading in Rhode Island ahead of Tuesday’s presidential primary.

The Brown poll surveyed 600 likely voters between April 19 and April 21, a time frame that was extended due to a lack of responses that school officials attributed to “voter fatigue.”

Among the 436 voters who said they plan to vote in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, 43% are backing Clinton and 34% are backing Bernie Sanders, with a high 16% undecided.

Brown only surveyed 164 voters who said they plan to vote in the Republican primary – a very small sample that makes the results subject to significant error. But among that small group of voters, 38% are backing Trump, 25% are backing John Kasich, 14% are backing Ted Cruz and 17% are undecided.

Brown’s previous survey, released in February, also showed Clinton and Trump ahead in Rhode Island. But the new results giving Clinton a healthy lead will be a relief to her local supporters, who have expressed growing concern that she could lose the state to Sanders.

The survey results were released amid a busy pre-primary stretch in Rhode Island, with four of the five candidates visiting the state: Kasich on Saturday, Clinton on Saturday, Sanders on Sunday, and now Trump on Monday.

Brown also asked the likely primary voters for their opinions of Gov. Gina Raimondo. Among the 600 sampled, 7% rated her job performance excellent, 24% rated it good, 30% rated it fair and 33% rated it poor. Brown said it had decided not to release the poll’s findings about Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza because too few respondents live in the capital city.

Among likely primary voters, 59% said they support expanding charter schools in Rhode Island; 54% said they oppose what Brown described as the “new toll tax on large trucks” to fund infrastructure repairs; 62% said they support spending state dollars to promote tourism; 67% said they support legal medical marijuana; and 55% said they support regulating and taxing marijuana similarly to alcohol, though a majority said they had never smoked pot.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com. He hosts Executive Suite and writes The Saturday Morning Post. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

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