Democrats (and Reporters) Too Quick to Assess Poll’s Blame
Rhode Island Democratic Party Executive Director Tim Grilo barely waited for the starting gun to charge through the gate and publicize new Taubman Center polling data concerning Governor Carcieri’s approval ratings:
“These numbers reflect a resounding rejection of Governor Carcieri’s failed policies and empty promises. We are in the midst of the greatest economic crisis in a generation – this is a time for ideas, not extremist ideology and the governor grows further out of touch with each passing day,” said Grilo.
Earlier today, the Taubman Center at Brown University released a poll that found only 34 percent of Rhode Islanders approve of Governor Carcieri’s job performance and 80 percent thought the state was headed in the wrong direction. By way of comparison, 74 percent of Rhode Islanders indicated a level of support for President Obama’s stimulus package and said they believed it will help improve the American economy. Carcieri has joined the small partisan chorus of GOP leaders in speaking out against the Obama plan.
“If the governor doesn’t get the message today, he never will. This poll should serve as a message to Mr. Carcieri that it’s time to focus less on union and immigrant bashing, and more on solving the problems of Rhode Island’s hard-working families. Until he does, his relevancy will diminish at a rate only surpassed by his falling approval numbers,” Grilo said.
If his partisan blinders had slipped, however, Mr. Grilo might have accidentally read the following, as well:
Fourteen percent believe House Speaker William Murphy is doing an excellent or good job, and 15 percent feel Senate President Teresa Paiva-Weed is doing an excellent or good job.
Surely this poll should serve as even more of a message to members of the General Assembly that it’s time to focus less on unions and other special interests, and more on solving the problems of Rhode Island’s hard-working families!
Although I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a redeeming factor, I will acknowledge that the numbers are made a little deceptive by the fact that 41.4% and 47.2% of respondents said that they “don’t know” how good of a job Murphy and Paiva-Weed are doing, respectively, compared with only a 3.8% “don’t know” for the governor. But even if we tease out “don’t knows” and “no answers,” those who have an opinion graded these key state-level leaders as Excellent or Good in the following proportions:
- Carcieri: 37%
- Murphy: 26%
- Paiva-Weed: 33%
Katherine Gregg’s top-of-the-front-page story on the poll takes the same approach as the Democrats, although she does mention the legislators’ even lower numbers way down deep in the story. Curiously, the Providence Journal splashed the headlline “Poll finds Rhode Islanders oppose steep local aid cuts,” even though readers who bother to follow the report onto page A4 will learn that:
… an even larger number (72.5 percent) are opposed to raising the income tax to avert steep cutbacks such as these, for anyone except the highest earners.
Of course, in a display of her own (and her paper’s) credibility, Gregg goes on to highlight the redistributive inclination by contacting her prize go-to source, Patrick Crowley. Perhaps the next Taubman poll should have some questions about Rhode Islanders’ opinion of news reporters and their affection for union talking points.