Poll on Md. Democratic primary spotlights GOP Gov. Hogan’s popularity

Voring booths are set up before Tuesday's Maryland primary election. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
WASHINGTON — A Washington Post-University of Maryland poll of Democratic voters shows nearly 40 percent are undecided about the governor’s race with just weeks to go before the state’s primary.

But pollsters say the real surprise is what the survey shows about the Republican incumbent, Gov. Larry Hogan. When asked whether they’d vote for Hogan or one of the Democrats hoping to face him if the election were held today, more than 50 percent of those asked said they’d choose Hogan.

“It didn’t seem to matter who the Democrat was,” said Michael Hanmer, associate professor of government and politics and the research director for the Center for American Politics and Citizenship at the University of Maryland.

For example, if the election were held today and the choice was between Democrat Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker and Hogan, 51 percent of the Democrats asked said they’d vote for Hogan, while 39 percent said they’d vote for Baker.

If the choice were between former NAACP President and Democrat Ben Jealous and Hogan, the results were the same. In a contest between State Sen. Richard Madaleno, a Democrat, and Hogan, 50 percent said they’d choose Hogan; 40 percent said they’d vote for Madaleno. Hogan garnered even more support in a matchup against Krish Vignarajah — 54 percent to 35 percent in Hogan’s favor.

“The biggest thing to jump out at me was the diversity of support for Hogan” says Hanmer. “Even among people who voted for Anthony Brown (Hogan’s 2014 opponent), he did very, very well.”

Keith Haller, a veteran pollster and president of Potomac Incorporated, was blunt in his assessment of the results. “ I’m sort of shocked by how popular Governor Hogan is among primary Democrats. His job approvals are over 70 percent and that’s sort of unheard of for a Republican governor in one of the nation’s bluest states,” said Haller. “His personal popularity is also staggeringly high.”

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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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