Republican gubernatorial candidate Patricia Morgan is downplaying findings from a poll released Monday by the campaign of GOP rival Cranston Mayor Allan Fung.
Asked if she views the results as credible, Morgan said, "It's not surprising. Everyone knows Allan Fung and I've only just begun. Only about half the people in the state know me, whereas 100 percent know him at this point. I've begun. I will make the case to the people of Rhode Island and I'm confident I'm going to win."
Fung has served as the mayor of Cranston since first winning election in 2008 and he ran for governor in 2014, losing to Democrat Gina Raimondo by about four points. Morgan, a former chair of the state Republican Party, has served in the House since winning election in 2010.
Fung's campaign manager, Andrew Vargas Vila, declined a request by Rhode Island Public Radio for the full poll conducted on behalf of Fung's campaign.
Reliably polling Republican campaigns in Rhode Island is considered difficult due to the relatively small number of GOP voters.
A memo written by Fung pollster Michael Meyers of TargetPoint Consulting nonetheless said the results bode well for Fung's campaign. According to the memo, TargetPoint surveyed "600 active voters in the state of Rhode Island" and conducted 433 additional interviews in registered GOP households. The surveys were conducted on landlines using automated survey technology, along with surveys on mobile phones.
According to the findings, Fung enjoys support from 45 percent of GOP primary voters, compared with 24 percent for Morgan, the Republican leader in the Rhode Island House of Representatives, 10 percent for former Rep. Joseph Trillo, and 20 percent were unsure. Trillo has said he is likely to run, although he has not yet announced a campaign, and businessman Giovanni Feroce also said he's leaning toward running for governor.
The GOP primary will be in September 2018.
Fung's campaign said the results show him with a five point lead over Raimondo in a general election matchup. TargetPoint said the poll has a four percentage point margin of error.
The poll found that President Trump's approval rating in Rhode Island is 37 percent, with 51 percent of respondents strongly disapproving of his job performance.