fb-pixel Skip to main content

Poll: Rhode Islanders consider climate change a bigger problem than racism or the economy

The Ocean State agrees that COVID-19 is the biggest problem of all.

If you have friends or relatives who would like their own free copy of this daily briefing about Rhode Island, tell them they can sign up here.


Happy Monday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and I’m sorry, but I can’t get enough of the Patriots losing. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

ICYMI: Rhode Island was up to 32,874 confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, after adding 482 new cases. The most recent overall daily test-positive rate was 3.3 percent, and the first-time positive rate was 14.5 percent. The state announced six more deaths, bringing the total to 1,201. There were 152 people in the hospital.


It will probably not come as a surprise to you that a new poll shows Rhode Island is one of 49 states where voters considered COVID-19 the most important problem facing the country. But we’re a little bit of an outlier when it comes to the second-most pressing issue.

While the other New England states picked racism, health care, or the economy, Rhode Island voters said they believe climate change ranks No. 2. In fact, the Ocean State was only of only four states that picked climate change as one of the two most important issues (Alaska was the only state in the country to rank it ahead of COVID-19, while California and Oregon also ranked it second).

The survey from the COVID-19 Consortium for Understanding the Public’s Policy Preferences Across States showed that the majority of voters in 18 states believe crime and violence is the second-most important issue, and racism ranked second in 17 states. The rest were split over health care and the economy.

The consortium includes researchers from Harvard, Northeastern, Rutgers, and Northwestern. They surveyed 20,315 individuals across the country between Sept. 4 and Sept. 27 via an online poll, and combined the findings with an October sample of 3,676 voters in battleground states. In Rhode Island, the margin of error was plus or minus 8 percentage points.


Separately, the consortium also released the results of an October survey from every state that shows 60 percent of Rhode Islanders believe the federal government is not taking COVID-19 seriously enough. Rhode Island was tied for second-highest in the country with Hawaii, behind only Maryland. On the state level, 68 percent of Rhode Islanders said they believe the government is reacting about right to COVID-19, while 18 percent said the state is not taking it seriously enough. Roughly 13 percent said the state is overreacting.


⚓ East Greenwich native and Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon has given US Senator Susan Collins the fight of her political career. Now it’s up to the voters to decide if Collins herself has changed the way Maine has changed. Read more.

⚓ This week’s Ocean State Innovators Q&A is with Mohamed T. Kante, founder of iNERDE, a Rhode Island-based startup that brings STEM education to students in Africa. E-mail Ed Fitzpatrick if you have someone he should talk to for his weekly interview. Read more.

⚓ On Friday, Governor Gina Raimondo reduced the limit on social gathering from 15 to 10 people, and she warned that there will be more restrictions to come if Rhode Island can’t get control of its coronavirus outbreak. Read more.


⚓ My latest edition of Home Stretch, our nightly newsletter about the race for president, looks at what the polls said in 2016 and what they say now in four key states. Read more.

⚓ Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden released a list of his top campaign bundlers (those who raised more than $100,000 for him), and there were four Rhode Islanders on the list: Former Providence Mayor Joseph Paolino, Clay Pell, Erich Stephens, and Arthur Solomon. Read more.

Subscribe to BostonGlobe.com


POTUS: My colleague James Pindell offers four reasons 2020 probably won’t look like 2016. Read more.

Politics: While Biden backers fret, President Trump supporters in New England’s battleground states expressed confidence that their candidate would prevail, undeterred by surveys that have shown Biden up an average of four points in Maine’s second district, and even 11 points in New Hampshire, where Hillary Clinton won by fewer than 3,000 votes in 2016. Read more.

Opinion: Columnist Yvonne Abraham writes that win or lose President Trump has taught us a lot about ourselves. Read more.

Sports: The Patriots' dynasty is officially over, writes Dan Shaughnessy. Read more.

Subscribe to BostonGlobe.com


Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.Contest: Don’t forget to pick the winners of the general election in Rhode Island for a chance to win Rhode Map tote bags and gift cards to Frog & Toad.⚓ At noon, the Globe is hosting a virtual panel with the makers of “City So Real,” a new documentary series about Chicago and its 2019 mayoral race.⚓ One of the items on the Barrington Town Council meeting agenda at 6:30 p.m. meeting is a series of positive and negative e-mails it has received from Rhode Islanders regarding the town’s decision to fly at Black Lives Matter flag outside Town Hall.⚓ Do you ❤️ Rhode Map? Your subscription is what makes it possible. We’ve got a great offer here.


Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.