2018 Gov’s Playbook: Fractionalization of the Moderate and Conservative Vote

Monday, October 08, 2018


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Three-way races for governor — now the norm in Rhode Island — are if nothing else unpredictable.

Four years ago, the Moderate Party candidate secured 21 percent of the vote. And, four years earlier the race was even more unpredictable. 

In July of 2010 — four months before the election, a Brown University Poll had Frank Caprio in the lead in the race for Governor.

“The survey was conducted July 27-30, 2010, by researchers at the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Public Policy and the John Hazen White Public Opinion Laboratory at Brown University. It is based on a statewide random sample of 702 registered Rhode Island voters. Overall, the poll had a margin of error of about plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

If the general election for governor were held today, 27.9 percent of people would vote for Caprio, and 26.5 percent would support Chafee. These numbers are within the margin of error, making the race between Caprio and Chafee a statistical tie. However, about more than 30 percent of voters are still undecided. Republicans John Robitaille and Victor Moffitt had 7 percent and 2 percent of support, respectively, while Moderate Party candidate Kenneth Block had support from 3 percent of respondents."

Caprio finished a distant third and Robitaille, the GOP nominee was edged by Chafee.

2018 Shake-Up

This past week the 2018 governor’s race saw a group of top Republicans jumping to support the nomination of independent Joe Trillo. The announcement that Patricia Morgan was endorsing Trillo was a blow to GOP unity and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung.

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John Della Volpe on the Daily Show

Coming this Thursday, Harvard’s John Della Volpe releases a new statewide poll in partnership with GoLocalProv. He will appear on GoLocal LIVE.

Della Volpe, who is Director of Polling at Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics, will outline many other key issues facing Rhode Island including education, crime, and the economy.

Della Volpe’s Socialsphere has conducted research for the United State Marine Corps, Politico, the Boston Globe, the Boston Red Sox and numerous other businesses and governmental entities. He is a regular on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

In June, release GoLocal released a gubernatorial matchup poll conducted by Della Volpe. See the results here.


Related Slideshow: 2018 Governor’s Race Playbook - October 8, 2018

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Momentum: Up

Joe Trillo (I)


Trillo had a big week collecting the critical endorsement of Republican Patricia Morgan. The boost transforms his campaign from being a spoiler to a contender.


Trillo's strongest week of the campaign. Now, can he keep the momentum going?

X-Factor: He has now expanded his base beyond just his Trump-base. 

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Momentum: Flat

Gina Raimondo (D)


It was a good week for Governor Gina Raimondo as a result of fractionalization in the Republican party -- not necessarily because of any wins from campaign.


The Raimondo camp along with CCRI continued to spin the first-year results from the free-college RI Promise program, but the lack of transparency on the data -- such as lumping together the retention rate for both free-college and paying students as part of the "Promise" cohort -- has raised questions.

X-Factor: Does she go after Trillo now?

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Allan Fung (R)


Tough week. With a month to go Fung should have already solidified the party, answered the pending Trump and Cranston police issues in Cranston from 2014, and now, should be focused on Raimondo's record and her vulnerabilities. But, that is not happening.


When four prominent Republican leaders announced that they are not endorsing you it is not good. Patricia Morgan has announced her endorsement of Joe Trillo and functionally brought along two former GOP candidates for governor Ken Block and John Robitaille as well as the beloved former RI Attorney General Arlen Violet.

X-Factor:  Rumors out of Washington are that the Republican Governors Association are on the verge of pulling dollars out of Rhode Island. Danger zone! 

Washington consultant and RI native Spencer Sullivan Tweeted the following last week:

@GoLocalProv the @rhodeislandgop can say all they want about @repmorgan’s endorsement but her endorsement of an independent candidate over a GOP candidate says more about the weakness and ineffectiveness of the Rhode Island GOP than anything they can say about her public service.


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