By: Amanda Pitts


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) -- Recent polling shows most Rhode Island voters feel lukewarm at best about Bishop Tobin. Only 23% say he's doing a good job.

According to our University of New Hampshire survey with the Providence Journal and the Public's Radio, 37% disapprove of the leader of Diocese of Providence. Another 41% are unsure.

"I think he's an excellent Bishop, he's a great shepherd of the church," said Gregory Langelier of North Smithfield.

Parishioners leaving Sunday mass at Tobin's Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul took offense with our poll's findings.

"There's something not right with that. Maybe it's cause he's telling the truth and people don't want to hear the truth," said Langelier.

"If you follow what he's saying, he's telling you the truth. There's not more than you can get than the truth," said Nancy of Warwick.

Bishop Tobin came under fire in August after parishioners say he admitted to knowing about the abuse of thousands of children in Pittsburgh at the hands of priests decades ago while he was an auxiliary bishop there.

Our poll also touched on the topic of abortion. Seven in ten Rhode Islanders surveyed say they support passing a bill to make sure abortion stays legal in the state.

Catholics made up a large chunk of that approval at 61%.

"Rhode Island, despite being a fairly Catholic state, is still in favor of keeping abortion legalized," said Andrew Smith, UNH Political Analyst.

Still, 20% of voters strongly oppose it.

"I'll always say what Mother Teresa has always said. If abortion isn't wrong, then nothing is wrong," said Langelier.

The Dioceses said in a statement to the Providence Journal that the results of the public opinion polls, while interesting to discuss, are not relevant to ministry.

As for background on our polling, 503 likely voters were surveyed, with a margin of error of about 4%.

(c) WLNE-TV 2018