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Polls Give Conflicting Picture Ahead Of RI Primary

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Two polls, released just one day apart, provide slightly different views of Rhode Island's presidential primary. While Donald Trump led both polls among...

Two polls, released just one day apart, provide slightly different views of Rhode Island's presidential primary. While Donald Trump led both polls among Republicans, one poll showed Democrat Bernie Sanders with a lead, and the other favored Hillary Clinton. 

On Monday, a poll released by Public Policy Polling found Sanders leading Clinton by four points thanks to a boost from Independent voters. But the survey called the Democratic races "toss ups" in both Rhode Island and Connecticut.

In contrast, a poll released Sunday by Brown University's Taubman Institute for Public Policy found Clinton with a nine-point lead over Sanders, although 16 percent of voters were undecided, suggesting the race could still be up for grabs as the clock ticks down to Tuesday's primary.

On the Republican side, the Public Policy Polling survey suggested strong support for Donald Trump, who led Ohio Governor John Kasich by 38 points, an even larger margin than Brown's poll had suggested. 

Public Policy Polling interviewed 1,179 likely primary voters in Rhode Island. The poll has a margin of error of (+/-) 2.9 percent.

The Clinton campaign's Rhode Island Director, Nick Black, declined RIPR's request for comment on the newer poll.

Brown based its findings on interviews with 164 likely Republican primary voters (with seven percentage point margin of error), and 436 likely Democratic primary voters (with a 4.6 percentage point margin of error).

In reacting to the findings, Kasich's RI campaign predicted he could be poised for an upset on Tuesday, pointing to the significant amount of undecided voters.

Sanders' campaign also questioned the findings. That Bill Clinton is returning to Rhode Island Monday to stump for his wife, after being here last week, suggests the race is considered close. Trump is also due to campaign in Rhode Island Monday, with a 1 pm stop at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick.

Here are some other findings from Brown's poll:

-- Governor Gina Raimondo's approval rating came in at a less than stellar 31 percent, with that many respondents saying she is doing a good or excellent job. Fifty-four percent of respondents say the state is going in the wrong direction.;

-- Fifty-nine percent of respondents favor expanding charter schools, while 21 percent oppose that. Brown said non-white respondents were most enthusiastic in supporting charter schools;

-- Sixty-two percent back using state money to promote tourism, although 35 percent want more spent, 43 percent said they want less spent, and 22 percent said they didn't know.

-- Fifty-five percent of respondents say they support legalizing marijuana. Forty-one percent said they have tried the drug.

Governor Raimondo's approval rating came in at 31 percent in the Brown poll.
Governor Raimondo's approval rating came in at 31 percent in the Brown poll.