Published 10/06/15

Contact: Dyana Koelsch, 401-415-0370,

Hassenfeld Institute poll shows Rhode Islanders want bridges fixed, Pawsox to stay

SMITHFIELD, R.I. — The Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership (HIPL) today released a new poll that addresses some of the most pressing issues facing Rhode Island today – including the future of the Pawtucket Red Sox and how to fix the state’s ailing bridges. The poll is the second of three that the HIPL and Fleming Associates will be conducting over the course of the year to track public opinion on key issues facing state leaders.

While 75.9% of the people surveyed said the state spends too little on maintenance of roads and bridges, almost 70% said they would not support an increased gas tax for bridge and road repair.

A majority of those asked (52.6%) did support a toll on large trucks – 21.1% said they strongly support the idea and 31.5% said they are somewhat supportive. 43% saying they oppose it.

While 63.3% of those asked say they think is important for the Pawtucket Red Sox to remain in Rhode Island, there was little support for any kind of public expenditure to make that happen. 74.2% said they opposed taxpayer assistance for the new Providence ballpark whether it be tax relief or infrastructure upgrades.

38.5% of Rhode Islanders believe the state is moving in the right direction, compared to 40.2% who believe the state is headed in the wrong direction. There was a marked difference along party lines with 54.9% of Democrats saying they believe that the state is headed in the right direction compared to 32.2% of Republicans and 23.5% of Independents.

In a HIPL Apri 2015 poll, 32.8% of Rhode Islanders felt that the state was moving in the right direction.

Job opportunities ranked as the most important problem facing the state (30.8%), followed by taxes (15.4%) and government corruption (14.4%). These findings are consistent with the results of the April 2015 survey.

Education, and its role in providing children with skills they need, continues to concern those polled. 59.8% said the public schools are average or below in providing children with tools for 21st century jobs. 51.4% said there is too much focus on standardized testing and 45.7% said too little is spent on K-12 education.

On the issue of charter schools, 53.1% of those surveyed said they support additional charter schools as offering a choice for parents for the education of their children while 36.2% said they do not support additional charter schools because they take money away from existing public schools.

The survey was conducted September 19-21, 2015, with a sample of 403 registered Rhode Island voters. The margin of error is +- 4.9%.

Download the complete poll results here.

About the Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership at Bryant University

The Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership provides public officials and others involved in the development, management, and execution of public policy with the tools and skills needed to make informed decisions and manage responsive organizations in order to govern and lead public sector and non-profit organizations effectively.