Poll: Rhode Island Congressional District Could Flip to Republican

Voters indicate deep concerns on economy, cutbacks in spending

Republican Allan Fung leads the six Democrats vying for the Democratic nomination for the open seat formerly held by retiring Congressman Jim Langevin, according to a Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll of Rhode Island likely midterm voters taken June 19-22. 

Fung—buoyed by residents unhappy with the state’s economy and President Joe Biden’s leadership—led five of the six Democrats in one-on-one ballot tests by about ten points each, but only led Democratic frontrunner Seth Magaziner by six points, 45%-39%, with nearly 17% undecided. 

Potential Congressional Race Match-ups
Suffolk University/Boston Globe Poll June 2022

“The possibility of a Republican in Rhode Island winning a congressional seat could have national implications in similar districts,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. “President Biden’s involvement could actually hinder the eventual Democratic nominee, who must thread the needle of connecting with undecided voters who believe the Rhode Island economy is awful, while supporting President Biden’s agenda which is seen as detrimental to that very economy.”

Meanwhile, the race for the Democratic primary nomination for governor is now a three-way race between two established political figures and a newcomer. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea (24%) leads acting governor Dan McKee (20%) and former CVS executive and political newcomer Helena Foulkes (16%), with 31% of voters still undecided.

In the poll, more than 82% of voters said the economy in Rhode Island is either fair or poor, while just 16% said either good or excellent. Among those indicating they are undecided in the congressional contest, nearly nine out of ten (89%) rated the Rhode Island economy as fair or poor.

Overall, President Biden’s approval rating statewide was just 39%, with 53% of voters disapproving. When asked whether Biden should run for re-election in 2024, 69% of Rhode Island voters said no and 22% indicated yes. Even among Biden’s most ardent supporters, there is a split on Biden’s future plans. Among those respondents who approve of Biden’s job performance, just 42% want him to run again and 46% do not.

In response to economic concerns, Rhode Islanders told pollsters they are changing their spending habits, with many respondents cutting back on their spending, especially in lower income households. While 60% of Rhode Island residents say they are driving less and cutting back on clothes shopping (66%) and eating out (63%), those figures jump to 70% and more for residents earning less than $50,000 per year. Similar patterns hold true for grocery shopping and travel plans. 

“There are two entities that could suffer greatly, going forward: lower income households who are spending less and retail/restaurants who will receive less. This is a one-two punch hitting the Rhode Island economy today as we approach the dog days of summer,” Paleologos said. 


The Suffolk University statewide survey of 800 likely midterm voters was conducted June 1922 and is based on live interviews of adults 18 years of age or older. Each area’s quota and demographic information—including race, education, and age—was determined from 2020 census data, the 2021 American Community Survey, and affiliated sources. Samples of both standard landline and cell phones were called using a probability-proportionate-to-size method, which means that the phone numbers assigned to each area were proportional to the number of voters in each area. All respondents indicated that they were residents of Rhode Island. The Rhode Island cities and towns were grouped into the two congressional districts. The margin of error for the 800 likely midterm voters is +/- 3.5 percentage points. The margin of error for the 423 likely midterm election voters in CD2 is +/- 4.8 percentage points. The margin of error for the 353 likely Democratic voters is +/- 5.2 percentage points. The margin of error for the 172 likely Democratic primary voters in CD2 is +/- 7.5 percentage points. The margin of error for the 102 likely Republican primary voters in CD2 is +/- 9.7 percentage points. All surveys may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to, coverage error and measurement error. 

Results are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, [email protected].

Media Contact

Greg Gatlin
Office of Public Affairs
[email protected]