What Matters at the Election Finish Line—Sunday Political Brunch - November 4, 2018

Sunday, November 04, 2018

 

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Mark Curtis

This is it folks! The weekend before Election Day, November 6, 2018. Midterm elections are always a referendum on the party in power at the White House, and 2018 is no different. A lot is on the table, including which party controls the U.S Senate and U.S. House. The big issues could cut both ways at the eleventh hour and I will grade each party’s potential advantage. Let’s “brunch” on that this week.

“It’s’ the Economy, Stupid!” – The famed line from Democratic operative James Carville always rings true. People vote their pocketbooks. The economy has the lowest unemployment rate since the 1960s. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is growing at its highest level in years. Tax cuts helped many, (but not all). However, in recent weeks the financial markets have fluctuated wildly. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped sharply on several days, only to rebound. There are jitters out there, but overall: “Advantage Republicans.”

“The Health of Health Care” – The one sector of the economy that continues to grow at an inflationary pace is health care. Republicans keep promising if they control the House and the Senate after Election Day, there will be another attempt to repeal and replace Obama Care. But Democrats continue to argue that millions of people with pre-existing conditions will lose coverage. In West Virginia for example, an estimated 800,000 of the 1.8 million residents, have a pre-existing condition. Democrats nationwide have stoked a lot of fear and concern that millions will lose medical coverage and it’s resonating with voters. True or not: “Advantage Democrats.”

“National Security” – Former President Bill Clinton always talked about peace and prosperity as the two most important factors in a reelection campaign. If people are working and stable financially, that’s a good thing. If the world is at relative peace and threats from overseas are abated, people feel safe and secure. The party in power usually gets the credit, or the blame. As mentioned, many economic indicators are cooking and threats from overseas are quiet. Grade: “Advantage Republicans.”

“Immigration Nation” – President Trump’s signature issue, and maybe the main reason he got elected, was immigration reform. No, the wall has not been built (and may never be), but right now this issue is again volatile. With a caravan of thousands of Central Americans trying to make their way to the U.S. border, there could be trouble. While the President has ordered 5,000 troops to guard the border, it’s unlikely the group will be here by Tuesday. Right now, “Advantage Republicans.” On the other hand, if others make it to the border and we see any extent of family separation, then all bets are off. The last thing this White House needs is more video of children being taken from their parents. Grade: “Standstill but Wait and See.”

“Immigration by Birthright.” – President Trump is talking about issuing an Executive Order to end the practice of granting legal citizenship to anyone born on U.S. soil, even if to illegal immigrant parents. He calls it a “crazy policy.” The problem is, it’s not a policy. It’s a Constitutional Amendment. Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” I predict if he signs an Executive Order, there will immediately be an objection filed in federal court, and an injunction will be granted preventing the implementation. “Advantage: the U.S. Constitution.”

“Birthright Citizenship be Gone?” – Make no mistake, the Fourteenth Amendment may be flawed. In hindsight, maybe it wasn’t a good idea to declare automatic citizenship by birth. I leave that to my fellow citizens to decide. But if it’s bad policy, there’s only one way to change it and that’s by amending the Constitution again, which is a process reserved - in part - to Congress, the states, and the citizens. The Constitution grants no power to amend the document to the Executive Branch of government, or the Judicial Branch. Amending the Constitution is by design very difficult. Other than the first ten amendments known as the Bill of Rights - approved with the original document - the U.S. Constitution has only been amended 17 times in 242 years.

“2016 Backlash?” – From the day Donald Trump was elected two years ago, opponents have been promising to upend his agenda and reverse the election in the 2018 midterms and ultimately in his 2020 reelection bid. There have been marches on Washington, D.C., and in many other cities across the United States. There has been public outcry over his second Supreme Court appointment, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and that this election might be a backlash. But a total national revolt and shaming of the Trump agenda? I don’t think so. If there is peace and prosperity Americans have a historic pattern with staying the course, no matter the party in charge. “Advantage: Two-Thirds Republican; to One-Third Democrats.” Read on to see why.

“My Predictions” -- I will stay with my prognostications from a few weeks ago. Republicans will have a net gain of three seats in the U.S. Senate, increasing their majority to 54 to 46. On the other hand, Democrats will take control of the House of Representatives with a narrow 221 to 214 majority.

“Is Divided Government Bad?” – The short answer is no. You will hear next Tuesday night and in the following days, predictions in the media of government gridlock. Yet in my lifetime, I remember two distinct periods when divided power worked well. In the 1980 Ronald Reagan landslide, Republicans not only took the White House, but seized control of the Senate as well, while Democrats held the House. Collectively, they got a lot done. Fast forward to 1995-96 when Democrat Bill Clinton was in the White House with Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress. It was the most productive time in Clinton’s term. A lot got done – including the most recent balanced federal budget. “Advantage: The Nation.” We’ll see if history repeats.

Mark Curtis, Ed.D., is Chief Political Reporter for the five Nexstar Media TV stations serving West Virginia, its five surrounding states and the District of Columbia.

 

Related Slideshow: GoLocal Statewide Poll - FULL RESULTS, Conducted by Harvard’s Della Volpe Oct. 2018

Sponsor: GoLocal Prov

Sample: N=502 Rhode Island General Election Voters

Interviewing Period: October 5 – October 9, 2018

Directed by: John Della Volpe, Harvard University, SocialSphere, Inc.

Slideshow: responses are not in the order of the questionnaire 

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Are you registered to vote in Rhode Island?

 

Yes.: 100%

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What is your gender

Male.: 45%

Female: 55%

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Where do you live?
 

Metro Providence: 28%

West Bay: 27%

Blackstone Valley: 22%

East Bay: 13%

South County: 10%

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Could you please indicate your age?

18-24: 7%

25-34: 16%

35-44: 16%

45-54: 20%

55-64: 17%

65+: 25%

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This 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: 32%

More $50,000 but less than $75,000: 18%

More $75,000 but less than $100,000: 16%

More $100,000 but less than $150,000: 14%

$150,000 or more: 11%

Don't know/Refused: 10%

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What was the last grade you completed in school?

0-11: 1%

High school grad: 17%

Technical/Vocational school: 4%

Some college: 26%

College grad: 32%

Graduate degree: 21%

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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?

White, Non-Hispanic: 80%

Black or African-American: 7%

Latino or Hispanic: 6%

Other: 8%

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Which of the following best describes your current employment status?

Employed full-time: 45%

Employed part-time: 10%

Self-employed: 6%

Not employed / Homemaker: 6%

Not employed: 28%

Student: 4%

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Which one of these best describes your religious preference or spiritual outlook?

Catholic: 43%

Protestant:10%

Fundamentalist/Evangelical Christian: 4%

Jewish: 3%

Muslim: 1%

LDS/Mormon: *

Another religion: 3%

Atheist: 7%

Secular humanist: 2%

No religious preference: 21%

Not sure: 5%

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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?

Democrat: 38%

Republican: 15%

Moderate: 6%

Unaffiliated: 39%

Don't know/Refused: 3%

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In November, 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: 86%

Probably be voting: 14%

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Did you vote in the 2014 midterm elections?

Yes: 80%

No: 10%

I don't remember: 9%

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Did you vote in the 2016 general election for president?

Yes: 89%

No: 8%

I don't remember: 1%

I was not eligible: 2%

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For whom did you vote? 

Hillary Clinton: 48%

Donald Trump: 36%

Someone else: 14%

I do not remember: 2%
 

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What would you say is the number one problem facing Rhode Island that you would like the Governor to address?  [Open-Ended Response]

Jobs and economy: 21%

Taxes: 20%

Roads: 11%

Education: 8%

State budget: 6%

Corruption/Public integrity: 5%

Healthcare: 4%

Immigration: 4%

Drugs and Opioids: 3%

Entitlements: 3%

Housing: 2%

Governor: 2%

Homelessness:1%

Don’t Know: 7%

Other: 5%            

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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: 19%

Wrong track: 38%

Mixed: 43%

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Which of the following comes closest to your view regarding each of the following candidates for governor of Rhode Island? [RANDOMIZED]

Gina Raimondo, a Democrat

I am sure to vote for her: 18%

There is a good chance I will vote for her: 20%

It is possible that I vote for her: 17%

It is unlikely that I will vote for her: 13%

I will never vote for her: 32%

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Which of the following comes closest to your view regarding each of the following candidates for governor of Rhode Island? [RANDOMIZED]

Allan Fung, a Republican

I am sure to vote for him: 15%

There is a good chance I will vote for him: 13%

It is possible that I vote for him: 23%

It is unlikely that I will vote for him: 20%

I will never vote for him: 29%

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Which of the following comes closest to your view regarding each of the following candidates for governor of Rhode Island? [RANDOMIZED]

Joe Trillo, an Independent

I am sure to vote for him: 3%

There is a good chance I will vote for him: 6%

It is possible that I vote for him: 31%

It is unlikely that I will vote for him: 30%

I will never vote for him: 30%

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Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Has a vision for the state.

Allan Fung: 25%

Gina Raimondo: 31%

Joe Trillo: 11%

None: 12%

Don't know: 22%

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Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Will ensure that we have high-quality affordable health care. 

Allan Fung: 13%

Gina Raimondo: 28%

Joe Trillo: 11%

None: 17%

Don't know: 31%

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Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Cares about people like me.

Allan Fung: 23%

Gina Raimondo: 25%

Joe Trillo: 14%

None: 19%

Don't know: 19%

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Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Will make government more accountable to the people.

Allan Fung: 21%

Gina Raimondo: 24%

Joe Trillo: 12%

None: 19%

Don't know: 24%

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Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Will stand up to special interests.

Allan Fung: 17%

Gina Raimondo: 21%

Joe Trillo: 17%

None: 19%

Don't know: 25%

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Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Is committed to improving education in public schools.

Allan Fung: 21%

Gina Raimondo: 43%

Joe Trillo: 6%

None: 9%

Don't know: 21%

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Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Is a fighter for the middle class.

Allan Fung: 22%

Gina Raimondo: 27%

Joe Trillo: 15%

None: 16%

Don't know: 19%

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Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Is honest and trustworthy.

Allan Fung: 19%

Gina Raimondo: 25%

Joe Trillo: 9%

None: 23%

Don't know: 25%

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Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Will hold the line on taxes.

Allan Fung: 24%

Gina Raimondo: 19%

Joe Trillo: 13%

None: 19%

Don't know: 25%

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Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Is fiscally responsible.

Allan Fung: 28%

Gina Raimondo: 29%

Joe Trillo: 10%

None: 12%

Don't know: 21%

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Next is a series of qualities and attributes that candidates for Governor could possess. Which candidate for Governor does each attribute apply to most? [RANDOMIZED]

Brings fresh ideas and perspectives.

Allan Fung: 23%

Gina Raimondo: 25%

Joe Trillo: 15%

None: 17%

Don't know: 19%

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If the election for Governor were held today and the candidates were: [ROTATE] Democrat Gina Raimondo, Republican Allan Fung and Independent Joe Trillo, for whom would you vote?

Gina Raimondo, a Democrat: 40%

Allan Fung, a Republican: 32%

Joe Trillo, an Independent: 17%

Don't know: 11%

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Attorney generals in several states have begun investigating sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy, opening investigations and issuing subpoenas for documents.

Do you favor or oppose the Rhode Island Attorney General opening an investigation into the Archdiocese of Providence on issues related to possible sexual abuse of children?

Net: Support: 89%

Strongly Support: 61%

Somewhat Support: 27%

Net: Oppose: 7%

Somewhat Oppose: 5%

Strongly Oppose: 3%


Don't Know    4%

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If the election for the U.S. Senate were held today and the candidates were: [ROTATE] Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse and Republican Robert Flanders, for whom would you vote?

 

Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat: 56%

Robert Flanders, a Republican: 32%

Don't know    12%

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Recently, it was announced that state officials approved a fast-track regulatory review of Massachusetts based Partners HealthCare’s proposed takeover of Care New England, Rhode Island’s second-largest hospital system, and operator Women & Infants, Butler and Kent Hospitals. [RANDOMIZED]

Do you believe the quality of care for Rhode Islanders will:

Improve: 21%

Worsen: 19%

Stay about the same: 44%

Don't know: 16%

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Recently, it was announced that state officials approved a fast-track regulatory review of Massachusetts based Partners HealthCare’s proposed takeover of Care New England, Rhode Island’s second-largest hospital system, and operator Women & Infants, Butler and Kent Hospitals. [RANDOMIZED]

Do you believe the number of jobs available to Rhode Islanders will:

Increase: 22%

Decrease: 27%

Stay about the same: 38%

Don't know    13%

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The City of Providence and the state of Rhode Island are considering a proposal by New York

developer Jason Fane to build a 46-story luxury residence tower in Providence, next to a public

riverfront park.  The developer will invest $250 to $300 million of his own funds.  The project is

called the Hope Point Tower, it would be 170-feet taller than the Superman building and would

require waiving height restrictions and the use of state tax credits.

Net: Favor: 39%

Strongly favor: 15%

Somewhat favor: 23%

Net: Oppose: 52%

Somewhat oppose: 26%

Strongly oppose: 26%

Don't know:10%

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Earlier this year, legislation was filed in the General Assembly that would require that all Rhode Island public schools have a school resource officer on the premises -- if a school has over 1,200 students -- two school resource officers would need to be present.

Net: Support: 68%

Strongly Support: 37%

Somewhat Support: 32%

Net: Oppose: 25%

Somewhat Oppose: 14%

Strongly Oppose: 10%

Don't Know: 7%

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Do you support or oppose expanding Rhode Island’s free college tuition program at the

Community College of Rhode Island to the state’s two four-year colleges so that the last two

years of tuition at Rhode Island College and URI would be free for those recent high school

graduates, who are in a solid academic standing, and on track to graduate in four years? It is estimated that the cost of the program would be $35 million.

Net: Support: 55%

Strongly Support: 29%

Somewhat Support: 25%

Net: Oppose: 40%

Somewhat Oppose: 17%

Strongly Oppose: 24%

Don't Know: 5%

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Do you support or oppose an Educational Bill of Rights for students and parents in Rhode Island that includes:

1) The right to be taught by effective teachers.

2) The right not to be taught by teachers who, after due process evaluation, fail to meet standards established by state and local education officials.

3) The right to appropriate academic materials and resources.

4) The right to safe, clean and environmental-friendly school facilities.

5) The right to emotionally supportive schools that do not tolerate harassment, discrimination or abuse.

6) The right to attend a school where funding is based on student need with the goal of providing

access to adequate educational opportunities.

7) The right to a pathway out of a failing school.

8) The right to a fair, accurate and transparent assessment system that measures student

performance and need.

9) The right of parents to current and reliable information about their child’s progress and performance.

Net: Support: 84%

Strongly Support: 51%

Somewhat Support: 33%

Net: Oppose: 9%

Somewhat Oppose: 7%

Strongly Oppose: 2%


Don't Know: 7%

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Recently, Governor Gina Raimondo has been criticized for accepting $12,500 in campaign and

PAC contributions from members of the Sackler family. Owners of Purdue Pharma, the Sackler

family has been profiled in multiple national news outlets for fueling the US opioid addiction epidemic, through its painkiller OxyContin.

The Financial Times has also reported that the family also owns Rhodes Pharma, Rhode Island-

based drug maker that is among the largest producers of off-patent generic opioids in the US.

If Governor Gina Raimondo asked you for advice on this – would you suggest that she …

Return the money: 71%

Keep the money: 15%

Don't know: 14%

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In terms of the number of women who face sexual harassment in the workplace – would you say that sexual harassment in Rhode Island is a …

Major problem: 35%

Minor problem: 36%

Not a problem    7%

Don't know    22%

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Which party do you believe is most responsible for the Providence school bus strike?

Teamsters Local 251: 31%

The bus company: 21%

Mayor Jorge Elorza: 19%

Don't know: 29%

 
 

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