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Gina Raimondo’s COVID-19 approval rating plummeted during her final month as governor

In this Jan. 8, 2021 file photo, President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for Secretary of Commerce, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo speaks during an event at The Queen theater in Wilmington.Susan Walsh/Associated Press

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Happy Wednesday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and I pay for way too many streaming services. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to

ICYMI: Rhode Island was up to 134,336 confirmed coronavirus cases on Tuesday, after adding 298 new cases. The overall daily test-positive rate was 2.9 percent, and the first-time positive rate was 22 percent. The state announced three more deaths, bringing the total to 2,606. There were 118 people in the hospital, and 174,391 residents were fully vaccinated.


The delayed confirmation process to become US commerce secretary and awkward transition didn’t help Gina Raimondo’s approval rating during her final month as Rhode Island’s governor.

new survey from the COVID-19 Consortium for Understanding the Public’s Policy Preferences Across States shows Raimondo left office with 40 percent of residents approving of the way she was handling the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s a dramatic decline her peak in late April 2020, when 74 percent of residents approved of her approach to addressing COVID-19. And Raimondo’s 18-point drop between November and February was the steepest in the country.

The consortium, which includes researchers from Harvard, Northeastern, Rutgers, and Northwestern, has now polled residents in every state on what they think of their governors 11 times since April 2020. Here’s a look at where Raimondo stood in each survey.

Late April: 74 percent

Early May: 72 percent

Late May: 66 percent

Late June: 63 percent

Late July: 71 percent

Late August: 60 percent

September: 62 percent

October: 58 percent

November: 58 percent 

December-January: 54 percent 

February: 40 percent

It’s worth noting that the average approval rating for every governor has steadily declined over the course of the consortium’s surveys. In Massachusetts, for example, Governor Charlie Baker had an 80 percent approval rating last April, and was down to 59 percent in February. 


Raimondo largely stayed out of the public view between the time President Joe Biden announced he was nominating her to be commerce secretary on Jan. 7 and when she was confirmed on March 2. 

During that period, the incoming governor, Dan McKee, was critical of how the state was handling the vaccine process and his transition team went out of its way to complain about Raimondo to the media. 

Over the course of 11 online surveys, the consortium has polled 173,591 individuals across every state as well as Washington, D.C. The most recent poll was conducted between Feb. 5 and March. 1, and the margin of error in Rhode Island was plus or minus 6 percentage points.


⚓ A Lincoln woman accused of operating some of the most-notorious Asian massage parlors in Rhode Island has pleaded no contest to racketeering and forfeited about $650,000. Read more.

⚓ Lifespan and Care New England should not have offered COVID-19 vaccines to their board members in January while most Rhode Islanders waited their turn, the state’s attorney general said in a letter released Tuesday. Read more.

⚓ The US Supreme Court will hear arguments on Wednesday in a Rhode Island case involving the clash of two powerful interests: defusing volatile domestic situations involving guns and protecting homes from warrantless searches and seizures. Read more.

⚓ After more than four hours of debate, the state House of Representatives voted 53 to 22 on Tuesday to pass the “Act on Climate” bill, which makes the state’s goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions mandatory and enforceable. Read more.


⚓ Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island has hired Martha L. Wofford as its next president and CEO. Read more.

⚓ Did you know that Rhode Island has a thriving maple syrup scene? Read more.


Guns: Columnist Adrian Walker writes that Massachusetts is a model for gun control in the US. Read more.

Health: How a Boston telemedicine company is helping connect surgeons from all over the country. Read more.

Anti-Semitism: The Anti-Defamation League of New England called Tuesday for “a full-scale independent investigation” into the Duxbury High School football team’s alleged use of Holocaust-related language and Jewish terms to call plays on the field. Read more.

Sports: Bob Ryan writes that Elgin Baylor, who died this week, is the most influential basketball player of the past 60 years. Read more.


Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at

⚓ BIRTHDAYS: Rhode Map readers, if you want a friend or family member to be recognized on Friday, send me an e-mail with their first and last name, and their age.

⚓ The State Investment Commission meets at 9 a.m. Here’s the agenda.

⚓ The House Committee on State Government and Elections has a lengthy agenda for its 4 p.m. meeting.


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Dan McGowan can be reached at Follow him @danmcgowan.