Three-Quarters of Voters Favor Term Limits for State Lawmakers, Poll Shows

What issues matter most to Marylanders this election year? What are they thinking about some of the state’s leading institutions?

The latest Goucher Poll asked Maryland residents about an array of issues – many of which are likely to be relevant in the elections. The results were released early Wednesday morning.

Goucher surveyed 800 Maryland adults from Feb. 12-17. The poll had a 3.5-point margin of error.

Opioid Addiction

Marylanders were asked whether opioids – which include some prescription pain medications as well as heroin – are a major or minor problem or not a problem at all. An overwhelming majority (82 percent) said they viewed it as a major problem and 11 percent said it’s a minor problem.

Asked what it takes to overcome an opioid addiction, 5 percent said they think people can overcome an addiction on their own and 81 percent think people need medical treatment to address it.

Fifty-two percent of respondents indicated they personally know someone who has been addicted to opioids, while 47 percent said they do not.

Maryland General Assembly Matters

Forty-two percent of Marylanders said they approve of the job the Maryland General Assembly is doing, while 34 percent disapproved, and 24 percent said they don’t know. Considering national polls show approval of Congress hitting the single digits, that’s not a bad number.

The names on the big board in the state Senate chamber could change more rapidly if Maryland voters get their way.

Forty-seven percent of poll respondents said Maryland would be governed better if more women served in elected office and 47 percent said having more women in government would make no difference. Only 3 percent think the state would be governed worse.

Three-quarters of Marylanders said they supported establishing term limits for members of the Maryland General Assembly, an issue being championed by Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan (R), and 17 percent opposed it. Those who support term limits were asked what specific limit they would prefer:

  • 19 percent said one term or four years
  • 56 percent said two terms or eight years
  • 20 percent said three terms or 12 years
  • 2 percent said 4 terms or 16 years

Statewide Issues

Reports of concussions and brain damage have spurred a nationwide discussion concerning the safety of contact sports for children. This legislative session a bill was proposed in the Maryland General Assembly to ban tackle football for those younger than 14.

Marylanders were divided on the prospects of a statewide ban; 45 percent supported and 49 percent opposed.

Respondents were asked whether the state government spends too little, about the right amount, or too much on public education and public transportation.

On public education spending, 71 percent said the state is spending too little, 19 percent said about the right amount, and 8 percent said too much.

On public transportation spending, 52 percent said the state is investing too little, 30 percent said about the right amount, and 8 percent said too much.

On the question of raising the state minimum wage to $15 per hour, it is popular with almost two-thirds of Marylanders: 66 percent supported it and 31 percent opposed it.

Baltimore City

Asked whether Baltimore city is the economic engine of the state, 25 percent of poll respondents agreed that it is and 67 percent disagreed. In a Goucher Poll from a year ago, 33 percent agreed that the city is the state’s economic driver and 58 percent disagreed.

Asked who was responsible for the closures of city public schools earlier in the winter due to freezing classrooms, 39 percent said mismanagement of funds by the Baltimore City Public Schools administration, 24 percent said underfunding by the Maryland state government, and 14 percent said underfunding by the Baltimore city government

Josh Kurtz
Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.


  1. In 2016, my Term Limits Charter Amendment in Montgomery County received 300,000 votes, 70% of the vote and won 253 of 257 precincts despite the opposition of every elected official and the Washington Post. In 2014, there were 6 candidates, three from Takoma Park, in the Democratic Primary for 4 at-large council seats. Now we have 31 after Term Limits!
    Get some fresh ideas!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here