David Segal’s 2010 pollster conducting an RI-1 primary survey

Here’s a Rhode Island political mystery: Who ordered the poll quietly being conducted right now in the 1st Congressional District?

A reader with a 401 area code got a call Tuesday night for a survey about a hypothetical Democratic primary between Congressman David Cicilline, Anthony Gemma and David Segal. Along with the head-to-head matchup, the survey tested their favorability ratings and asked the respondent whether he identifies as “progressive, moderate or conservative.”

The polling firm identified itself as Connection Strategies, a low-profile, left-leaning firm based in Somerville, Mass., the reader said. Segal spent $24,097 with Connection Strategies during his 2010 bid for the Democratic nomination in the 1st – the only one of the three mentioned in the poll who used the firm.

Cicilline’s longtime pollster is The Feldman Group in Washington, which his campaign tapped as recently as last July, so the poll almost certainly didn’t come from him. It’s unclear who, if anybody, is polling for Gemma. Segal – who, like Gemma, has kept the door open to a rematch with Cicilline – didn’t immediately respond to an email Tuesday asking whether he ordered the survey.

“It was a very low-budget poll,” the reader reports. “Four questions. Guy was from out of state and struggled to say ‘Cicilline.'”

Campaign finance records show at least three other Rhode Island Democrats have hired Connection Strategies in recent years: Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, State Rep. Frank Ferri and liberal wonk Tom Sgouros, who was briefly a candidate for treasurer in 2010.

• Related: Patrick Lynch unlikely to challenge Cicilline; Gemma set to run (Jan. 3)

(photo: Segal campaign)

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