PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democrat Gabe Amo has a double-digit lead over Republican Gerry Leonard in the special election for Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District, according to a newly released poll.

The online survey of 386 registered voters in the 1st District by Salve Regina University showed Amo at 46% and Leonard at 35%, with 15% undecided. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The poll showed both nominees winning overwhelming support in their parties, with 88% of Republicans backing Leonard and 83% of Democrats backing Amo. Independents were basically tied, 26% for Leonard to 25% for Amo, with 38% undecided.

Amo was ahead with every age group in the poll other than voters 50 to 64 years old, who were roughly tied, with 40% of them backing Leonard and 38% backing Amo.

The poll is the first independent survey of 1st District voters ahead of the Nov. 7 special election, which was triggered when David Cicilline resigned to lead the Rhode Island Foundation. The district is heavily Democratic, and Amo is widely seen as the frontrunner for the seat.

The survey was commissioned by Salve’s Pell Center and conducted online by Embold Research from Oct. 12 to Oct. 17. The firm used a methodology that the school described as “dynamic online sampling, meaning the program adjusts in real time to ensure a representative sample upfront.”

Salve spokesperson Erin Barry acknowledged the survey oversampled Republicans “to a degree,” with 34% of poll respondents identifying as GOP voters, compared with the party’s total registration of only 12% in the district. She said the 34% Republican share of respondents included voters who only lean toward the GOP, and argued it didn’t affect the validity of the poll.

The 1st District findings are a subset of a larger survey of 887 Rhode Island registered voters, with the full results set to be released by Salve next month.

Ted Nesi ( is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Threads, Twitter and Facebook.