Time is not the Democrats’ friend.Yes, there are still 6 ½ months until Election Day, but the latest poll from Goucher College suggests that Democrats have not been able to move the needle at all in their attempts to damage Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) as he bids for a second term.The poll contains some good news for both parties, on a range of issues. But the bottom line remains the same: Hogan enjoys stratospheric approval ratings and significant – though not impenetrable – leads against his potential Democratic challengers.What’s more, voters seem to have bought into Hogan’s mantra of bipartisanship and moderate political viewpoints.“Echoing the bipartisan tone and legislative scope of the 2018 Maryland General Assembly session, most Marylanders say they prefer leaders who compromise and a government that does more to help meet the needs of people,” said Mileah K. Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College, which conducted the poll. “While there are clear divisions on who residents are more confident in to handle different issues, most Marylanders say they hold both Governor Hogan and the Democratic leadership equally responsible when there is a lack of cooperation in state government.”Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.The Goucher Poll surveyed 617 Maryland adults from April 14-19 and carried a 3.9-point margin of error.Sixty-nine percent of Marylanders said they approve of the job Hogan is doing as governor, while 21 percent disapproved. Fifty-one percent described Hogan as a moderate, while 26 percent said they see him as a conservative and 9 percent viewed him as a liberal.President Trump’s numbers were upside down, comparatively: just one-quarter of Marylanders said they approve of the job he is doing, while 70 percent disapproved.Does Trump represent an existential threat to Hogan’s reelection prospects? Forty-seven percent of Maryland residents said that Hogan has distanced himself “about the right amount” from Trump. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said Hogan has distanced himself “too little” from the president, and 9 percent said he has distanced himself “too much.”Matched against the seven Democrats seeking to take his job away, Hogan held leads of between 13 and 20 points:
Hogan 44 percent, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, 31 percent, with 22 percent undecided
Hogan 44 percent, former NAACP president Benjamin T. Jealous 31 percent, with 22 percent undecided
Hogan 45 percent, Baltimore County Executive Kevin B. Kamenetz 28 percent, with 23 percent undecided
Hogan 45 percent, state Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. 27 percent, with 26 percent undecided
Hogan 46 percent, author and tech entrepreneur Alec Ross 26 percent, with 26 percent undecided
Hogan 47 percent, attorney James L. Shea 27 percent, with 25 percent undecided
Hogan 45 percent, former Obama administration official Krishanti Vignarajah 25 percent, with 27 percent undecided
Poll respondents seemed generally satisfied. Fifty-three percent said Maryland is heading in the right direction and 28 percent saod Maryland is off on the wrong track. A plurality—42 percent—of residents think that the economy in Maryland is better today than it was four years ago, 37 percent said it’s the same, and 17 percent characterized it as worse.Voters are split on who is best equipped to address key issues – Hogan or Maryland’s Democratic leaders:Environmental issuesHogan 34 percent, Democratic leadership 47 percentState budget and financesHogan 55 percent, Democratic leadership 28 percentGun violenceHogan, 39 percent, Democratic leadership 40 percentTransportation and infrastructureHogan 45 percent, Democratic leadership 36 percentEconomic development and job creationHogan 49 percent, Democratic leadership 35 percentTaxesHogan 47 percent, Democratic leadership 35 percentEducationHogan 37 percent, Democratic leadership 44 percentCrime and criminal justiceHogan 48 percent, Democratic leadership 32 percentOne additional piece of good news for Democrats: 62 percent of Marylanders said the government should do more to solve problems and help meet the needs of people. About a third think the government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals.About three-quarters of Marylanders said they prefer political leaders who compromise in order to get things done compared to 14 percent who prefer political leaders who stick to their beliefs even if less gets done.When there is a lack of cooperation in state government, 67 percent hold both Hogan and Democratic leaders equally as responsible, while 18 percent hold the Democratic leadership and 11 percent hold the governor more responsible.[email protected]
Founding Editor Josh Kurtz is a veteran 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 was an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, for eight years, and for eight years was the editor of E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill. For 6 1/2 years Kurtz wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz regularly gives speeches and appears on TV and radio shows to discuss Maryland politics.
Former Gov. Hogan had paused Maryland’s participation in meeting the California standard.
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