Poll: Clinton, Trump on top in RI primary races

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton_265882

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump are Rhode Island voters’ top choices for president with two months to go before the state’s primary, according to new polls released Thursday by Brown University.

Brown said it conducted the two surveys a few days apart, and each sampled 600 registered Rhode Island voters who are likely to vote in the April 26 presidential primary.

The more recent of the surveys sampled 394 likely Democratic primary voters, and found Clinton at 49% and Sanders at 40%. Among self-identified Democrats, Clinton leads Sanders 55% to 31%, but among self-identified independents, Sanders leads Clinton 58% to 36%.

The same survey sampled 206 likely Republican primary voters, and found Trump on top at 43%, followed by Marco Rubio at 25%, John Kasich at 14%, Ted Cruz at 10% and Ben Carson at 3%.

The survey was conducted by Brown’s Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy on Feb. 22 and 23.

Brown’s earlier survey, conducted Feb. 17 to 20, showed markedly different results for the Democratic primary, with Sanders leading at 48% and Clinton at 41%. Brown argued the change showed “a shift in support toward Clinton” after Saturday’s Nevada caucus, though it’s also possible the movement has to do with methodology. That earlier survey sampled 396 likely Democratic primary voters.

On the Republican side, Brown’s earlier survey also showed Trump with a strong lead among the 204 likely GOP primary voters sampled. The poll found Trump at 41%, followed by Rubio at 14%, Kasich at 12%, Cruz at 8%, Jeb Bush at 7% and Carson at 4%. Bush dropped out of the race on Saturday night.

Brown also said 50% of the 600 likely primary voters in both polls said Rhode Island is on the wrong track. Both had an overall margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, according to Brown.

Rhode Island’s presidential primary is April 26.

The poll results come as local attention is focused across the border on neighboring Massachusetts, which will hold its primary next Tuesday. Surveys there have shown Sanders and Trump leading the pack in their respective parties.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: @tednesi

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