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Government & Politics

Goucher Poll: A Third of Marylanders Facing More Financial Hardship than a Year Ago; Hogan Approval Ratings Remain High

Photo by Catherine McQueen/Getty Images.

Marylanders are concerned about their fiscal futures and are feeling the pinch from higher prices, according to a new poll.

More than half of Marylanders, 56%, say that recent price increases have caused them financial hardship.

About 30% said that meant a major financial hardship, while 26% said it had a minor effect, according to a Goucher College survey of 635 Maryland adults between March 1st and 6th. The poll, released Monday, has a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points.

The poll also asked residents to compare their current financial situation now to a year ago. One-third of respondents said they’re doing worse, while 19% said they are faring better. About 47% said their financial situation is “about the same.”

“Marylanders are definitely feeling an economic pinch. A third say they are worse off financially than they were a year ago, and more than half say they are affected by the recent price increases,” said Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Center for Politics at Goucher College.

But the price increases have yet to dampen the views of the state’s broader economic prospects, Kromer said.

Fifty-two percent of residents hold a mostly positive view of the current economic situation in Maryland; 41% hold a mostly negative view.

Last week, after new revenue estimates showed the state’s surplus growing to record levels, Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R), Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) and House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) announced they would work together to establish a one-month gas tax holiday in an effort to ease financial strain on Marylanders.

When it comes to how the state should spend an estimated $7.5 billion surplus over the next two years, residents polled by Goucher were equally divided: 50% said they would prefer to increase funding for public services and 49% preferred tax cuts.

Hogan approval remains high; Biden slips

Hogan continues to earn widespread support among state residents. Sixty-five percent of Marylanders approve of the job Hogan is doing as governor and 25% disapprove.

Hogan’s support was highest among Republicans, with 71% approval. About 69% of independents approve of the job he’s doing, alongside 61% of Democrats, according to the results.

President Joe Biden’s approval rating in the state continued to slip.

About 48% of those polled approve of the job he’s doing as president, and 47% disapprove.

Last March, 62% of Marylanders approved of Biden’s job performance, while 31% disapproved.

The president’s job approval was highest among Democrats, at 68%, and lowest among Republicans, at 16%.

Policy perspectives

As lawmakers debate the future of marijuana in Maryland — including a possible referendum on November’s general election ballot — the Goucher Poll found that 62% of Marylanders support the legalization of recreational marijuana. Support among Democrats and independents was at 65%, and about 54% of Republicans also said they would support legalization.

When it comes to the issues that Marylanders care the most about, a quarter of those polled said they want the state to prioritize crime and public safety as a top priority.

About 17% identified education as a top concern, 14% pointed to economic issues, and 11% would prioritize health care.

A second round of poll results are expected to be released on Tuesday.