The Public Policy Polling survey found 26% of Americans have a favorable view of Rhode Island, while 16% have an unfavorable view, for a net positive rating of 10 points. Hawaii was most popular by far (54% favorable) and California the least-liked (44% unfavorable). Massachusetts was 35% favorable and 27% unfavorable.
More than half of those polled – 58% – said they weren’t sure what they thought about Rhode Island, tying it with Kansas and Idaho as one of the country’s most unknown states. Only West Virginia (62%) and Nebraska (60%) had higher shares without opinions.
The automated telephone survey of 700 U.S. voters was conducted Oct. 7 to 10 by PPP, a Democratic-affiliated firm in Raleigh, N.C. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. It was one of four polls conducted to get favorability ratings for all 50 states.
“Very liberal” Americans were far and away the most fond of Rhode Island, giving the state a 46% favorable rating. “Very conservative” voters gave the state a 29% unfavorable and only 15% favorable rating.
Independents (31% favorable) liked Rhode Island better than Democrats (29%) and Republicans (20%). But Republicans were twice as likely to dislike the state as Democrats, with unfavorable ratings of 22% and 11%, respectively.
Among generations, significantly more young Americans have a positive view of Rhode Island than their parents and grandparents.
The state got a 39% favorable rating from voters ages 18 to 29, but didn’t top 26% among older people. Young voters were also far less likely to have no opinion; only 39% were not sure versus more than half among those 30 and up.
Men were more likely to dislike Rhode Island than women, with unfavorable ratings of 20% from men and 13% from women.
PPP found a big divide between voters in different parties over how they view red states and blue states.
“Democrats’ favorite states include Hawaii, Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington, Vermont, Colorado, and New York, and their least favorites are led by Texas, Alabama, and Mississippi,” PPP’s Tom Jensen said. “Republicans love Alaska and Texas, and absolutely hate California, followed distantly by Illinois and Massachusetts.”
“So the greatest partisan gap is for California, which Democrats like 91 points more than Republicans do, followed by Texas, which is favored more by Republicans by 82 points,” Jensen said.