As the November election draws nearer, Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan (R) continues to have enviable job approval ratings, according to the latest poll from Goucher College. But President Trump’s poor standing in Maryland remains a threat to Hogan’s bid for a second term – and the governor’s re-election numbers aren’t nearly as strong as his approval ratings.
Sixty-one percent of Marylanders said they approved of the job Hogan is doing as governor; 18 percent disapproved, and 19 percent said they did not know. Those numbers are substantially similar to the last Goucher Poll, which was conducted last September.
But voters’ negative views of Trump could impact the results of this year’s election, the poll suggests.
Trump’s job approval rating stood at just 27 percent in the poll, while 68 percent of survey respondents said they disapproved of his job performance.
The poll of 800 adults was taken Feb. 12-17. It carried a 3.5-point margin of error.
Thirty-eight percent of voters said their opinion of Trump could have a bearing on their vote in the gubernatorial election this fall, while 60 percent said their views toward the president would have no or only a little influence on their vote.
“Governor Hogan’s reelection chances in blue Maryland are closely tied to the public perception that he is a moderate Republican who has distanced himself from Washington politics,” said Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher. “The specter of an unpopular president with shared party affiliation still looms as potential political problem for Mr. Hogan.”
The federal tax cuts that Trump and Congress enacted with great fanfare late last year do not play especially well in Maryland. Twenty-six percent of adults said they think their taxes will decrease, 44 percent think their taxes will increase, and 18 percent think the changes to the tax code will have no effect.
Hogan appears to be doing a good job of distancing himself from the president, the poll found.
Forty-seven percent of Maryland residents said they believed that Hogan has distanced himself about the right amount from Trump. Twenty-two percent of respondents believe Hogan has distanced himself too little from Trump and 10 percent said he has distanced himself too much from the president. Twenty percent said they didn’t know.
Similarly, 46 percent of Marylanders labeled Hogan a moderate, while 29 percent saw him as a conservative, 7 percent viewed him as a liberal, but 17 percent said they don’t know.
Forty-seven percent of Marylanders said they are leaning toward or will definitely vote to reelect Hogan and 43 percent say they are leaning toward or will definitely vote for a different candidate.
When asked about the single most important issue for determining their choice for governor, 28 percent of respondents said the economy and jobs, 24 percent said education, and 13 percent said health care. Eleven percent cited racial and social justice issues as the most important factor, while 8 percent said taxes.
Sixty-two percent of Marylanders said the state is heading in the right direction, while 31 percent said it is off on the wrong track.
Twenty-two percent of poll respondents identified economic issues—including jobs, taxes, economic growth, and the budget—and 19 percent identified education as the most important issues facing Maryland today. Twelve percent called crime and criminal justice the most important issue in the state.
Attitudes toward Maryland’s economic situation—an important factor in determining the outcome of gubernatorial elections—remained favorable for Hogan: 60 percent of those surveyed held a mostly positive view of the Maryland economy and 31 percent held a mostly negative view.
Congress continues to earn poor job approval ratings from Maryland residents. Only 11 percent said they approved of the job Congress is doing while 83 percent disapproved.
Maryland’s two U.S. senators fared better.
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D), who was elected in 2016, had a 37 percent job approval rating and a 27 percent disapproval rating. Thirty-four percent of poll respondents said they did not know.
Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D), who has served in elected office since 1967 and is seeking his third U.S. Senate term this year, had a 44 percent approval rating and a 30 percent disapproval rating. Twenty-four percent said they did not know.