Poll shows low approval numbers for Mattiello

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — House Speaker Nick Mattiello may be in trouble. ABC6’s University of New Hampshire poll, with Rhode Island Public Radio and the Providence Journal, shows 24% of voters approve of the job Mattiello is doing as Speaker, 40% disapprove and 37% aren’t sure.

“Nicholas Mattiello represents sort of the old Rhode Island that is associated with corruption and inside dealing,” said Providence College political analyst Joe Cammarano.

“He’s very unpopular, and if he does end up winning his reelection campaign, this may actually cost him the Speakership. Rhode Islanders in general are not happy with Nicholas Mattiello, and I think he’s in deep trouble as speaker, but he’s also got a very tough reelection contest,” said Cammarano. 

Speaker Mattiello’s opponent in the general election, Republican Steve Frias, not surprisingly, agrees.

“I think a lot of the voters in this district reflect somewhat the voters statewide in this sense. He is more unpopular than popular, what I can tell going door to door,” said Frias. 

On the other hand, UNH political science professor Andrew Smith argues low public approval, may not spell the end of Mattiello’s Speakership. 

“I think the one thing that he has to go for him is he’s not running statewide,” said Smith. “State House politics deals with the ability of people to put together coalitions and get legislation passed and the ability to raise money to help candidates get elected.”

We reached out to Speaker Mattiello’s campaign. A spokesperson declined our request for an interview but said “the speaker is very focused on his district and having conversations with his constituents.”

This poll surveyed 561 randomly selected registered Rhode Island voters. The polling took place between September 27 and October 6. There is a margin of error of plus or minus 4%.

© WLNE-TV/ABC6 2018