A new poll by Bryant University's Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership shows strong backing for Governor Gina Raimondo's proposal to offer two years of free college tuition to Rhode Islanders, and softer support for House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello's move to phaseout the car tax over five years.
Sixty percent of respondents approve of the proposal to offer two years of tuition at CCRI, RIC, or URI. Just under 30 percent oppose the plan, and 10.2 percent said they were not sure, according to the poll.
In contrast, 27.4 percent of respondents said they strongly favor the car tax phaseout championed by Mattiello, and 24.9 percent somewhat support it. About 40 percent either somewhat or strongly the phaseout, and 7.7 percent said they were not sure.
Bryant's Hassenfeld Institute initially declined to release details about the methodology of the poll. After reporters criticized that on social media, Hassenfeld director Gary Sasse later said the results were based on polling dome from March 25-29, with a sample size of 400 people, and a 4.9 percentage point margin of error.
In a change from previous polling data, more people (41.8 percent) said Rhode Island is headed in the right direction than in the wrong direction (36.3 percent). About 16 percent said things remain the same, and 6 percent were not sure.
Almost 62 percent of respondents said they believe a family's ability to pay should be a factor in whether students receive free tuition. A larger amount -- 81 percent -- said maintaining a certain grade point average in high school should be a stipulation for the program.
Seventy-eight percent of respondents said they support raising the minimum wage from $9.60 to $10.50 an hour. Seventeen percent oppose that and 4.5 percent said they were not sure.
Seventy-five percent support creating a line-item veto for the governor.
Sixty percent back having a run-off election of the two top vote-getters when a top candidate for governor or other state general offices gets less than 50 percent of the vote.