It’s a Pot Luck Sunday Political Brunch – February 25

Sunday, February 25, 2018


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Mark Curtis

Some weeks there’s a political story that kind of dominates the focus, and makes it easy for a one-topic discussion This week is not one of them. All kinds of random things are happening all over the map, many seemingly unconnected to the others. That’s means we’re having one of my semi-regular “political pot lucks!” Let’s “brunch” on that this week:

“Florida Kids and Guns” – I used to say gun control efforts in this country would never succeed. The 2nd Amendment is too strong (as are court decisions upholding it). Plus, the National Rifle Association, NRA, is one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington. It’s too hard to change what’s been established for over 200 years in this nation. But now, I wonder. The testimony and drive of the surviving students from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School assault in Parkland, Florida are grabbing a lot of attention. The stories they tell are gut-wrenching and their passion for change is intense. I say this not as a supporter or opponent of gun control, but as someone who watches and analyzes political trends. This time may be different.

“Young People and Voting” – Here’s a fact. Young people – as a demographic – don’t vote in large numbers. It’s ironic, because in the 1960s and 70s young people who feared being shipped off to Vietnam led the effort to change the Constitution and lower the voting age from 21 to 18. They won! The oddity is that since then, young people have had the worst voter turnout of any age group, with one exception. In 2008, they turned out in droves, driven by the advance of internet and social media, and helped elect Barack Obama to the White House. Other than that, they’ve historically stayed home, or in their dorm rooms.

“The Gay Marriage Phenomenon” – Let’s face it, a lot of politics is generational. For example, the concept of same-gender marriage was appalling to most Americans for years. Homosexuals were closeted and many preferred it stay that way. But with the advancement of the gay rights movement through the 1990s, and more and more people living “openly” out of the closet, the younger generation took a different view. A growing segment of the population had openly gay friends and simply said, “So, what?” much to the surprise of their parents and grandparents. Society – and the courts – finally acquiesced on same-gender marriage.

“Same Song; Different Verse” – I use the marriage equality issue as an example – even though it has no connection to gun control – simply because of the changing generational view. Look, the 2nd Amendment is here to stay, and people will always be able to buy certain handguns, rifles and shotguns for self-protection, hunting and collecting. But my guess is that the rising teen and 20’s generation may have a whole different view. When I went to high school in the 1970’s, there were no school shootings. Today, they are commonplace at schools and elsewhere. One can envision this rising generation banning AR-15s, whereas their parents and grandparents never would. The reason: they lived this; we didn’t.

“From Columbine to Parkland” – So what has changed other than generational attitudes. If you were countering my argument, you might point out that the 1999 Columbine High School shootings in Colorado had similar outrage, but led to little societal change. True, but in 1999 the internet was “in diapers,” and there were no such things as these massive Facebook and Twitter social media phenomena. Today, modern communication – especially amongst our youngest – can fuel a firestorm and lead to a sea-change in politics (again I reference 2008). Politics as usual may be gone.

“From Russia with No Love” – Special Counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 13 Russians for their involvement in Russian attempts to influence the 2016 Presidential election. To date – no Americans have been charged – although one-time Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and confidant Rick Gates have been charged with other improprieties in dealing with Russia. My gut tells me that President Trump, various family members, and inner-circle folks may never be charged with anything, but it will all remain a black cloud that distracts from this administration to the very end, whether that’s 2021, or 2025. Yes, Russia hacked, but Trump collusion? “Show me the money,” because I am not seeing it.

“The ‘Show Me’ State” – Governor Eric Greitens, (R) Missouri was indicted this week on charges of taking a picture of someone in "full or partial nudity" without the person's knowledge or consent. The indictment alleges Greitens transmitted the photo "in a manner that allowed access to that image via a computer." In Missouri, that’s a felony. It gives new meaning to the phrase, “The Show Me State,” (please don’t). Greitens has already admitted to an affair, but is now in much deeper hot water.

“Pastor to the Presidents” – This week the Reverend Billy Graham died at the age of 99. Graham was certainly one of the most influential religious – if not politically influential figures – for decades. Graham counseled every President from Harry Truman to Barack Obama. While originally a registered Democrat – who later leaned quite conservative - he once said, “Evangelists cannot be closely identified with any particular party or person. We have to stand in the middle to preach to all people, right and left.” Graham favored racial integration and once even bailed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., out of jail. His imprint on American religious and political discourse is indelible. God rest his soul.

What are your thoughts on this pot luck of politics? Just click the comment button at


Related Slideshow: GoLocal: Benchmark Poll, October 2017

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Sponsor: GoLocalProv

Sample: N=403

Rhode Island General Election Voters Margin of Error: +/- 4.9% at 95% Confidence Level

Interviewing Period: October 9-11, 2017

Mode: Landline (61%) and Mobile (39%)

Telephone Directed by: John Della Volpe, SocialSphere, Inc.

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Are you registered to vote at this address?

Yes: 100%

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When it comes to voting, do you consider yourself to be affiliated with the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, Moderate, or Unaffiliated with a major party?

Unaffiliated: 49%

Democrat: 32%

Republican: 15%

Moderate: .4%

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Next year, in November of 2018, there will be a statewide general election for Governor and many other state offices. How likely is it that you will vote in this election?

Will you definitely be voting, will you probably be voting, are you 50-50...

Definitely be voting: 78%

Probably be voting: 13%

50-50: 9%

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In general, would you say things in Rhode Island are headed in the right direction or are they off on the wrong track?

Right track: 39%

Wrong track: 45%

Mixed: 10%

Don't know/Refused: .6%

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What would you say is the number one problem facing Rhode Island that you would like the Governor to address?

Jobs and economy:  21%

Education: 12%

Taxes: 12%

Roads: 12%

State budget: 9%

Corruption/Public integrity: .8%

Healthcare: 3%

Governor: 3%

Homelessness: 2%

Immigration: 2%

Other: 7%

Don’t know: .9%

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Over the past three years or so, would you say the economy in Rhode Island has improved, gotten worse, or not changed at all?

Changed for the better: 35%

Changed for the worse: 16%

Not changed at all: 43%

Don't know/Refused: 5%

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Over the same time, has your family's financial situation improved, gotten worse, or not changed at all?

Changed for the better: 26%

Changed for the worse: 19%

Not changed at all: 54%

Don't know/Refused: 1%

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Recently, a proposal has been made to permit the issuance of $81 million in bonds by the State to build a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox. If there was an election today on this issue, would you vote to approve or reject issuing $81 million in financing supported moral obligation bonds to build the stadium?

Net: Approve: 28%

Definitely approve: 15%

Probably approve: 14%

Net: Reject: 67%

Probably reject: 19%

Definitely reject: 48%

Don't know: 4%

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Could you please tell me your age?

18-24: 7%

25-34: 15%

35-44: 15%

45-54: 20%

55-64: 17%

65+: 25%

Don't know/refused: 1%

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What was the last grade you completed in school?

0-11: 2%

High school grad: 16%

Technical/Vocational school: 1%

Some college: 23%

College grad: 34%

Graduate degree: 24%

Don't know/refused: 1%

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The next question is about the total income of YOUR HOUSEHOLD for the PAST 12 MONTHS. Please include your income PLUS the income of all members living in your household (including cohabiting partners and armed forces members living at home).

$50,000 or less: 27%

More $50,000 but less than $75,000: 13%

More $75,000 but less than $100,000: 13%

More $100,000 but less than $150,000: 17%

$150,000 or more: 13%

Don't know/refused: 17%

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What particular ethnic group or nationality - such as English, French, Italian, Irish, Latino, Jewish, African American, and so forth - do you consider yourself a part of or feel closest to?

American/None: 21%

English: 13%

Italian: 13%

Irish: 12%

Black or African American: 6%

Latino/Hispanic: 6%

French: 6%

Portuguese: 3%

Jewish: 3%

German: 1%

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Would you say that Donald Trump has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as President?

Excellent: 13%
Good: 12%
Fair: 14%
Poor: 57%
Never heard of:  0%
Cannot rate: 3%

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Would you say that Jack Reed has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a United States Senator?

Excellent: 22%
Good: 29%
Fair: 23%
Poor: 15%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate: 6%

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Would you say that Sheldon Whitehouse has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a United States Senator?

Excellent: 17%
Good: 22%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 28%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate: 7%

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Would you say that David Cicilline has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a Member of Congress?

Excellent: 9%
Good: 29%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 27%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate:  8%

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Would you say that James Langevin has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a Member of Congress?

Excellent: 7%
Good: 30%
Fair: 20%
Poor: 18%
Never heard of: 13%
Cannot rate: 11%

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Would you say that Gina Raimondo has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Governor?

Excellent: 6%
Good: 28%
Fair: 30%
Poor: 31%
Never heard of: 1%
Cannot rate: 3%

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Would you say that Daniel McKee has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Lieutenant Governor?

Excellent: 3%
Good: 16%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 8%
Never heard of: 26%
Cannot rate: 25%

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Would you say that Peter Kilmartin has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Attorney General?

Excellent: 3%
Good: 20%
Fair: 28%
Poor: 17%
Never heard of: 13%
Cannot rate: 19%

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Would you say that Seth Magaziner has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as General Treasurer?

Excellent: 4%
Good: 18%
Fair: 24%
Poor: 13%
Never heard of: 21%
Cannot rate: 21%

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Would you say that Nellie Gorbea has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Secretary of State?

Excellent: 5%
Good: 21%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 10%
Never heard of: 20%
Cannot rate: 23%

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Would you say that Jorge Elorza has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Mayor of Providence?

Excellent: 4%
Good: 24%
Fair: 24%
Poor: 22%
Never heard of: 9%
Cannot rate: 15%


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