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Poll: Hogan would win Md. governor race if election were held today

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan speaks at the Chesapeake Executive Council meeting Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)

WASHINGTON — A recent poll concluded that if the election for Maryland Governor were held today, Republican Larry Hogan would win.

Pollster Patrick Gonzales, of Gonzales Research and Media Services, said 52 percent of the voters surveyed said they’d support incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican.

Thirty-six percent said they would support Democrat Ben Jealous, and 11 percent are undecided. One percent said they’d support a third-party candidate: either Green Party candidate Ian Schlackman or Libertarian candidate Shawn Quinn.

Among unaffiliated voters — in Maryland independents are considered unaffiliated — 60 percent said they’d vote for Hogan, 29 percent support Jealous, and 11 percent remain undecided.

In Maryland, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly two to one, and if Hogan wins re-election, he’ll be the first Republican to do so since Gov. Theodore McKeldin won re-election in 1954.

Right now, Gonzales said, Hogan has the support of 29 percent of registered Democrats. “If he can do that in November, he will be re-elected,” Gonzales said.

“This poll emphasizes that under Governor Hogan’s leadership, the overwhelming majority of Marylanders are confident that our state is headed in the right direction,” said Scott Sloofman, the communications director for Hogan’s re-election campaign. “This poll also shows that the more people come to understand Ben Jealous’ plan to dramatically raise taxes on every man, woman, and child in Maryland, the less they like him.”

The Jealous campaign disputes the accuracy of the poll.

Keith Harris, a senior adviser to the Jealous campaign, issued a statement saying: “These poorly designed public polls have never accurately predicted or captured the mood of Marylanders, as we saw from the primary.”

Gonzales called Jealous’s win in the June primary impressive. Jealous, the former president of the NAACP, beat Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker in the Democratic primary.

“He should have come out of that primary with some momentum,” Gonzales said of Jealous. “[But] relative to his position two months ago, he’s gone nowhere.”

Jealous has a favorable rating of 31 percent according to Gonzales, and a 33 percent unfavorable rating. “He’s going to need to flip that dynamic,” Gonzales said.

The poll asked voters whether their feelings about President Donald Trump would have any influence on their vote in November’s election.

“President Trump is very unpopular in the state of Maryland,” Gonzales said.

Just 36 percent of those polled approve of the job Trump is doing, while 59 percent disapprove.

“He’s certainly not well-liked among Maryland voters. However that’s not transferring to the governor,” Gonzales said. “They’re both Republicans, but voters up until this point have separated the two, and view the two very, very differently.”

Asked if Jealous’ recent use of an expletive during a news conference had cost the candidate, Gonzales said the poll concluded before that incident.

“Is it a big deal or a one-day story?” Gonzales asked. “I’m much closer to thinking it’s a one-day story.”

Gonzales said women comprise the majority of the electorate in Maryland, so the incumbent governor’s ability to capture the female vote is important.

“If a Republican running statewide can capture 48, 49, 50 percent of the female vote, that Republican is well, well on his way toward winning an election” he said.


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