Md. poll shows Baltimore’s scandal-weary voters ready for change

Baltimore, Maryland, USA cityscape at Mt. Vernon and the Washington Monument.(Getty Images/iStockphoto/Sean Pavone)

A new survey of likely voters in Baltimore’s next mayoral primary, conducted a day before former Mayor Catherine Pugh resigned, shows that 63% were ready to see her leave office. Results also show that when it comes time to find a replacement in the upcoming election, the contest is “wide open.”

The poll from Gonzalez Research and Media Services shows that Pugh had support among 23% of those surveyed, and that more women than men: 57% to 74% — believed Pugh should have stayed on.

But even as Pugh remains mired in scandal, Patrick Gonzales, president of the survey firm, said when offered a field of possible candidates in the 2020 mayoral primary, 23% of those surveyed said they’d support former Mayor Sheila Dixon.

That, despite the fact that Dixon herself resigned from office in 2010. Dixon was found guilty of embezzlement in a case in which she stole $600 worth of retail gift cards that were intended for needy families. When her name came up as a possible contender for the 2020 mayor’s race in an April social media post, Dixon said that her Facebook page had been hacked.

Given other possible mayoral candidates, the Gonzalez poll shows that if current Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young were to run, he’d get 19% of the vote, 18% said they’d choose Baltimore prosecutor Marilyn Mosby, and 24% say they’re undecided.

Gonzalez said there are other names being floated as possible mayoral candidates, including Maryland State Senator Jill Carter, who championed legislation to require more transparency on boards like the University of Maryland Medical System, whose members, including former Mayor Pugh, have been under added scrutiny.

“I think it’s fluid, I think it’s wide open,” Gonzales said of the 2020 mayoral primary.

Whoever decides to run for mayor of Baltimore, Gonzalez said they’ll face some heavy lifting to get a grip on persistent problems of struggling schools, rising violent crime and the sense that things are moving in the wrong direction.

Gonzalez said two-thirds of those surveyed said things are moving the wrong direction, three-quarters of respondents said they’re dissatisfied with schools and nine out of ten say they are fed up with attempts to stem the rise of crime in Baltimore.

“Baltimore City residents are apprehensive, and they’re frustrated,” Gonzalez said. “And something has to happen to help turn that around.”

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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