A poll conducted last month help explains why Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker (D) appears to start with an advantage over his opponents in the Democratic primary for governor: He has solid ratings in his home county — which has the biggest Democratic registration in the state.
The poll of 407 Prince George’s County Democrats, obtained this week by Maryland Matters, showed that Baker is popular with his constituents: 69 percent approved of the job he’s doing, while 19 percent disapproved. Significantly, 61 percent of Prince George’s Democratic voters said the county was moving in the right direction, while only 21 percent said things are off on the wrong track. Eighteen percent provided no response.
The survey also showed Baker with a solid home-field advantage over his likely opponents in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Fifty-one percent of Prince George’s Democrats said they would vote for Baker; 15 percent said they would vote for former NAACP President Ben Jealous; 1 percent would vote for Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and 1 percent would vote for state Sen. Rich Madaleno. Six percent said they’d support someone else, and 26 percent were undecided.
This poll was taken Sept. 1-7 by Gonzales Research & Media Services for the Greater Prince George’s County Business Roundtable. It had a 5-point margin of error.
“Elected officials trying to evolve from a countywide office to a statewide office, such as
governor, need an abundance of support within their geographic political base to propel the endeavor,” pollster Patrick Gonzales wrote in a memo accompanying the survey. “Rushern Baker satisfies this essential requirement.”
But solid as Baker’s showing in Prince George’s is, it pales in comparison to former Gov. Parris Glendening’s (D) performance at home in the 1994 Democratic gubernatorial primary. Glendening, the last Prince George’s executive to seek the state’s top job, received 83 percent of the vote in his home county in the seven-way primary, en route to winning the governorship in the general election.