In the wake of a new WPRI 12 poll showing the congressman with a six-point lead over Brendan Doherty, two national outlets on Thursday upgraded the freshman Democrat’s chances of holding onto his 1st Congressional District seat.
National Journal moved the 1st District down 12 slots on its list of the nation’s most competitive U.S. House races, shifting it to #27. “Doherty has a steeper hill to climb,” the Beltway magazine’s Scott Bland wrote.
Hours later, Roll Call changed its rating on the 1st District race from tossup to Leans Democratic. “Cicilline seems to have rebounded and looks to be in much better shape than he was a few months ago in this very Democratic district,” the Capitol Hill newspaper’s Lauren Whittington wrote.
The Sabato Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics made the same move last month, changing its rating on the race to “Leans Democratic.” One holdout that’s still rating Cicilline-Doherty as a tossup is The Cook Political Report, though its editor is also considering a change.
Still, the incumbent is far from out of the woods. Cara Cromwell, who managed John Loughlin’s campaign against Cicilline in 2010, noted during a Friday taping of Newsmakers that he’s only polling 44% in the new poll despite widespread name recognition, which could mean Doherty has more room to build support.