Even if he makes it through the primary, Cicilline will face a difficult reelection bid. He will face former State Police superintendent Brendan Doherty, a touted GOP recruit, in the general election. Though the poll surveyed only likely Democratic primary voters, it did show that Cicilline may have trouble uniting members of his party after the primary: More than half of Gemma supporters said they would vote for Doherty in the general election.
The poll was conducted Aug. 19-22 by Fleming & Associates of Cumberland, R.I., surveying 301 likely primary voters. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 5.7 percentage points.
Cicilline has focused on themes of his 2010 campaign in recent weeks, decrying resources spent on foreign wars and advocating for more infrastructure spending at home. Gemma, meanwhile, has taken a more sensationalistic tack: Last week at a press conference, the challenger unveiled what he called evidence of voter fraud that implicated Cicilline. Cicilline has vehemently denied the charges and the state's Democratic establishment has rallied around him.
Most of the poll's interviews were conducted prior to Gemma's press conference.
Scott Bland contributed to this report.