Where do Marylanders stand on school starting after Labor Day, $15 minimum wage

A new poll shows where Marylanders stand on a number of key issues, including minimum wage, school start dates and support for the governor.

The results are from a Gonzales Maryland Poll for the month of March.

Maryland voters support a post-Labor Day start for school students and a law forcing employers to pay a minimum wage of $15. They overwhelmingly approve of their governor but oppose having an “unspecified” gender designation on driver’s licenses.

State lawmakers continue to debate whether the state’s minimum wage should be raised to $15 but, according to the poll a majority, of Maryland voters know where they stand — 60 percent support the boost in pay for workers. Only 35 percent of voters surveyed opposed the move.

That result was fueled by Democratic voters, as 79 percent of them favor the idea of new minimum wage law. When it comes to Republicans, 74 percent opposed any $15 minimum wage legislation. Women were more likely than men to support it, and 85 percent of African Americans surveyed favored a higher minimum wage as well.

The topic of delaying school start times — which was heavily debated in 2016 when Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan made the decision — is in front of lawmakers again.

“The issue of Labor Day schools starts, whether it happens before or after, has gained a little bit of momentum politically this session,” said Patrick Gonzales with Gonzales Research.

This time, there is a bill which seeks to essentially repeal the governor’s executive order to have schools start after Labor Day and give school systems the ability to decide when classes start and stop.

On having a post Labor Day start, Gonzales found that statewide 56 percent of voters support having schools start after the holiday, with only 40 percent believing that schools should ultimately make that decision.

One surprising result was the demographic that doesn’t support classes starting later.

“Those voters [are] between the ages of 35 and 54, kind of interestingly the age cohorts most likely to have kids in public schools,” Gonzales said.

One bill, which passed the state Senate and is in the House this session, would allow for someone to choose “unspecified” when selecting a gender on a driver’s license. That would be indicated with the letter “X” next to the sex on a driver’s license. In the poll, 51 percent of Maryland voters oppose the bill with 37 percent supporting the proposed change.

While only 38 percent of Marylanders support the job President Donald Trump is doing, the opposite is true for the state’s governor with 78 percent of voters giving him the thumbs up. With the high numbers for Hogan, 58 percent of voters also say the state is moving in the right direction.

The poll includes 817 registered voters in the state and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

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