In Md., Trump Voters Track With Those Not Worried About COVID-19

Former vice president Joe Biden holds a substantial lead over President Trump among Maryland voters in the latest Gonzales poll. Getty photos by Chip Somodevilla and Mark Makela.

The percentage of Maryland voters supporting President Trump’s reelection tracks roughly with the percentage of voters who aren’t worried about contracting the coronavirus, according to a newly-released poll.

Just a third of Marylanders told pollsters they plan to vote for Trump in the White House election, while 58% said they are supporting former vice president Joe Biden. Three percent of voters named other candidates, while 6% said they were undecided.

Those numbers line up roughly with voters’ attitudes on the dangers posed by COVID-19.

Thirty-six percent of Maryland voters said they weren’t worried about the possibility of contracting the coronavirus and getting seriously ill, while 64% said they were worried.

The poll of 820 likely Maryland voters was taken Oct. 19-24 by Gonzales Research & Media Services, an Arnold-based firm. It had a 3.5-point margin of error.

In the presidential matchup, Biden’s lead was across every demographic. He racked up 85% of the Black vote and 71% of the vote in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Among independent voters, Biden led Trump 48% to 25%. He had a 62% to 30% lead among women and a 54% to 36% among men. Among white voters, Biden’s edge was 48% to 42%.

Only in rural Maryland ― the Eastern Shore, the five Western Maryland counties and Calvert and St. Mary’s counties in Southern Maryland ― was Trump ahead, with a 49% to 41% lead over Biden.

In his polling memo, pollster Patrick Gonzales suggested that Biden is poised to surpass former secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 26-point margin over Trump in 2016, and he noted that no Republican presidential contender has carried Maryland since George H.W. Bush in 1988.

“There is talk of a ‘hidden’ vote (for Trump) out there,” Gonzales wrote in his polling memo. “If so, it needs to be concealed at a Tutankhamun Tomb level for the President to replicate patrician Bush’s feat in 1988.”

Voters’ fears about COVID-19 largely divided along partisan lines.

Eighty-two percent of Democrats said they are worried about the coronavirus, while 64% of Republicans said they are not worried about it. Forty-one percent of Marylanders said they feel comfortable about returning to their regular routine, while 57% said they do not.

Once again, voters were divided along party lines. Among Democrats, only 20% said they’re comfortable returning to their regular routine while 77% said they do not; among Republicans, 75% said they are comfortable returning to their regular routine and 23% are not. Among unaffiliated voters, 44% said they were comfortable and 54% were not.

Marylanders were divided about sending students back to school buildings. Thirty-seven percent said they favored keeping students in on-line virtual learning for now, while another 37% said they favored a hybrid learning regimen. Just 20% of voters said they wanted students back in the classroom full time.

With many school districts stuck with virtual instruction, 61% of voters said they are satisfied with the quality of public education in their school district, while 31% said they were dissatisfied. Among Black voters, 50% said they were satisfied, while 44% were dissatisfied.

Pollsters asked voters voters how concerned they were about censorship by social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter. Statewide, 65% said they are concerned about social media censorship (41% “very concerned” and 24% “somewhat concerned”), while 33% said they are not concerned with social media censorship.

Once again, voters’ views diverged based on their party affiliation. Eighty-eight percent of Republican voters said they were concerned about social media censorship compared to just 52% of Democrats. Among unaffiliated voters, 64% said they were worried.

Finally, pollsters asked voters about Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) ― and once again his numbers were astronomical.

Hogan rang up a 73% job approval rating, while just 23% of voters said they disapprove of the job he is doing. Incredibly, Hogan has a higher approval rating among Democrats ― 76% ― than he did among Republicans (71%). Sixty-nine percent of unaffiliated voters registered their approval.

When it comes to Hogan’s handling of the coronavirus, Hogan scored even higher, with 77% saying he had done an excellent or good job.

“The sun comes up, the sun goes down…the tide rolls in, the tide ebbs out…seasons come and seasons go. But one constant remains ― Governor Larry Hogan’s popularity in Maryland,” Gonzales said.

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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.