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Gonzales Poll: Hogan Approval Stays Up, Trump Approval Stays Low

Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) delivering his State of the State address earlier this year. Hogan Facebook account photo

Maryland voters are defying the laws of gravity, a pollster says.

His evidence?

Republican Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s approval rating is at 78 percent, drawing support from all corners of the state, among Republicans and Democrats alike.

“Larry Hogan keeps defying Newton’s third law of motion, which states, ‘what goes up must come down,’” Pollster Patrick E. Gonzales writes in a poll released Tuesday morning. “…I don’t think political parties were around when that apple fell on Sir Isaac’s head in the 17th century, but he might have reconsidered his third law upon seeing that 72 percent of Democrats approve of the job GOP Hogan is doing; not to mention the 73 percent of African-Americans approving of a Republican governor.”

Eighty-five percent of Republican voters, and 85 percent of unaffiliated voters also approved of Hogan’s job performance, according to the poll of 817 registered voters taken Feb. 22-March 1. The poll had a margin of error of 3.5 points.

Hogan’s approval rating was highest in Western Maryland, at 82 percent approval. The governor’s approval rating was over 70 percent in all other regions of the state:

  • Baltimore metro, 80 percent;
  • Washington metro, 75 percent; and
  • Eastern Shore/Southern Maryland, 71 percent.

And while the governor is testing the 2020 presidential campaign waters of Iowa, Marylanders maintain a dim view of President Trump.

Sixty percent of state voters disapproved of Trump’s job performance, while 38 percent approved.

Trump also had the highest approval ratings in Western Maryland (Carroll, Frederick, Washington, Allegany and Garrett counties) at 64 percent. The president’s approval was lowest in the Washington metro region (Montgomery, Prince George’s and Charles counties), at 21 percent.

Fifty-eight percent of voters said the state is moving in the right direction. That percentage remains nearly constant, no matter a voter’s affiliation: 58 percent of Democrats and unaffiliated voters, and 57 percent of Republicans. The metro regions had slightly more favorable outlooks, with 59 percent of people in the Baltimore area and 58 percent in the Washington suburbs approving of the state’s direction, compared to 55 percent in rural Maryland.

However, party differences became clear on several policy questions. There is a 59-point gap between Republicans and Democrats in their approval of a national emergency declaration for a southern border wall and the Office of the Special Counsel investigation into possible Russian collusion.

Sixty-eight percent of Republicans approved of the emergency declaration, compared to just 9 percent of Democrats. Conversely, 80 percent of Democrats approved of the Russian collusion investigation, compared to 21 percent of Republicans.

There was a 54-point gap between Democrat and Republican voters on support for a $15 minimum wage in Maryland. Seventy-nine percent of Democrats supported a $15 minimum wage, compared to 25 percent of Republicans. Fifty-four percent of unaffiliated voters also said they favor a $15 minimum wage. The wage topic also drew a large distinction between men and women: 67 percent of women favored a $15 wage, compared to 51 percent of men.

Democrats are four times more likely to favor a new gender-neutral designation of “X” on Maryland drivers’ licenses. Fifty percent of Democrats supported the designation, compared to 12 percent of Republicans and 36 percent of unaffiliated voters.

A $15 state minimum wage bill has passed the House of Delegates this session, while the gender-neutral driver’s license bill has cleared the Senate.

Also passing the Senate this year was a bill to overturn Hogan’s executive order requiring schools to open for the year after Labor Day and close by June 15.

In the Gonzales Poll, 56 percent of voters statewide said schools should start after Labor Day.

Sixty percent of Republicans and unaffiliated voters supported a state mandate to start school after Labor Day. Fifty-three percent of Democrats supported starting schools after Labor Day, while 43 percent said local school systems should decide when school begins.

Neither the House or Senate has acted on a bill from Hogan that would require counties to hold a referendum before setting school calendars outside of the dates in the governor’s executive order.

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Gonzales Poll: Hogan Approval Stays Up, Trump Approval Stays Low