State leadership graded poorly in new voter poll

by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis

mcurtis@abc6.com

There is no skating around the issue, Rhode Island leaders appear on this ice.

A new study says 82 percent of registered voters believe
state leadership is fair or poor:

“Poor, poor, very poor, because the economy. We're
still having trouble finding jobs in this state,” said one resident at Kennedy Plaza.

“I would say fair, but it should be great, you
know?” said another voter.

“Extremely poor, because we've got too much corruption
that goes on in this state,” said a third voter.

The poll was conducted for the Hassenfeld Institute for
Public Leadership at Bryant
University.

ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, “One
big question remains: Does a poll like this really matter. Well, it is an
election year, so it could.”

The poll does not mention any current state leaders or
candidates for office, but there are likely some lessons for politicians and
voters alike.

“You would not hire somebody to be a CEO of a company
unless you thought that CEO would do a good job for the stakeholders. The same
is true for government. We ought not be electing people that we don't have
confidence in, will do a good job,” said Gary Sasse, Founder of the
Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership at Bryant University.

If the poll had a silver lining, it's that people gave their
local leaders higher marks than state officials.

Pollsters say it matters when trash gets picked up; the show
is shoveled; or, someone responds to problems.

“They contact their local officials a lot more than
they do state officials. You know they see how responsive the local officials
are how accessible they are; how they are with problem solving,” said Joe
Fleming, of Fleming and Associates, who conducted the poll.

Hundreds of state and local candidates are likely to look at
the poll for guidance, this election year.