Four months out from Maryland’s gubernatorial primaries, a poll conducted for Rushern Baker’s campaign shows a four-way battle among Democrats — with Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot holding onto a solid, but not overwhelming, lead.
Franchot was the choice of 23% of Democrats surveyed. Baker, a former two-term Prince George’s County executive making his second bid for governor, was the choice of 15%.
Former U.S. Labor Secretary and Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez had 11% support and former non-profit CEO and author Wes Moore was the choice of 10% of the Democrats surveyed. The other candidates registered in the single digits or not at all.
The survey was conducted by the Washington, D.C., firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. It was based on live phone interviews with 807 Democrats who self-identified as highly likely to cast a ballot in the July 19 primary.
The poll was taken March 8-14 and had 3.45-point margin of error.
Although Baker trailed Franchot by 8 points, his campaign views the results favorably, as he appears to be in a competitive position despite being vastly outspent by his rivals. Franchot and Baker may both be benefiting from superior name recognition — Franchot based on his four statewide campaigns, and Baker based on four campaigns for executive in the county with the highest number of Democrats, plus a runner-up race in the 2018 Democratic primary for governor.
Candidates last filed legally required campaign finance reports in mid-January. At the time, Moore had spent more than $1.6 million, according to a Baker campaign analysis, while Franchot and Perez had each spent approximately $900,000. Baker, who is participating in the state’s public financing program, which limits his ability to raise money but provides matching funds based on the amount he’s raised, had spent just under $300,000.
“The fact that our support continues to hold, despite being outspent thus far, is an example of how appealing he is right now,” said campaign manager Andrew Mallinoff. “For Democrats who are looking for another option, Rushern Baker is the strongest choice. We’re the best candidate in this field to challenge Peter Franchot.”
One in four Democratic voters remained undecided in the survey.
The results showed only subtle shifts from a survey Greenberg Quinlan Rosner conducted in November for the Baker campaign. In that poll, Franchot had 25%, followed by Baker (15%), Perez (9%) and Moore (7%).
Franchot, the state’s four-term tax collector and a former state delegate, has cross-racial appeal, according to the survey. He was the top choice of white voters and a strong second among Black voters. Baker was the top choice of Black voters and the third most popular pick among white voters.
Perez polled well among white voters, though his support lagged behind Franchot. Moore polled third among Black voters, behind Baker and Franchot, according to the poll results.