A new poll by Annapolis-based Gonzales Research & Media Service finds independent voters in Maryland moving away from incumbent Democratic President Joseph Biden.
The poll released Wednesday asked voters to weigh in on head-to-head matches between Biden and two top Republican challengers. The poll also gauged sentiment in a hypothetical primary contest against Gov. Wes Moore (D).
Among the results, pollster Patrick Gonzales said independent voters in Maryland have not yet coalesced behind Biden. The president’s showing in Maryland with independent voters portends potential trouble nationally, he said.
“An independent in Maryland is not the same as an independent in Idaho. They’re different,” said Gonzales. “Independents are more in sync with Democrats in Maryland. Whereas an independent in places like Idaho or West Virginia is more in sync with a Republican.”
The poll of 841 voters registered in Maryland who said they were likely to vote in the 2024 general election was conducted between May 30 and June 6. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 points.
In Maryland, Democrats hold the registration advantage over Republicans by a roughly 2-1 margin.
Biden performs as expected in matchups against two top Republicans: former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Against Trump, Biden outpaces the embattled former president 52% to 35% with 13% undecided. In 2020, Biden defeated Trump 65% to 32%.
The partisan split between Democrats and Republicans is about as expected with each candidate garnering more than 75% of the votes in their own party. Among independent voters, Biden leads Trump by a scant 3 points, 44-41.
The Gonzales poll was conducted before Trump was charged in a 37-count federal indictment in Florida. The charges are related to classified documents taken by Trump from the White House after his term ended.
Similarly, Biden outpaces DeSantis 51-37 in a one-on-one general election matchup. Again, Biden and DeSantis are each supported by the vast majority voters in their respective parties.
Among independents, however, DeSantis leads Biden 48-41.
Gonzales stressed that his poll is a snapshot in time and not a prediction of the future.
The veteran pollster said he does not believe the results concerning independents are unique to Maryland.
“Why is Maryland’s unaffiliated voter bloc shying away from the president?” said Gonzales. “President Biden’s campaign team should be concerned with these cautionary signs.”
A Gonzales poll released Tuesday hinted at trouble for Biden with independent voters. In that poll, 52% of Marylander said they approved of the job Biden was doing, a 6-point drop from a similar poll in January. That drop, however, is driven by a 9-point drop in support among independent voters in Maryland.
“This follows up on polling where we saw that drop in job approval amongst independents with Biden,” said Gonzales. “Now we’re seeing what kind of fruit that is bearing.”
The poll also asked voters to consider a hypothetical primary matchup between Biden and Moore. The question was only asked to Democratic voters surveyed in the larger poll.
Statewide, 49% of Democrats chose Biden compared to 41% who favored Moore, who has been in office for five months. Another 10% did not answer.
Among white Democrats, Biden held a 28-point lead over Moore. Among Black Democrats, a key constituency for the party, Moore held a 12-point advantage over the incumbent president.
“It cannot be a good sign for President Biden to be trailing amongst such a critical Democratic voting bloc in this, albeit, hypothetical match-up,” he said.
Moore was sworn in as the state’s first Black governor in January. He is the only Black governor currently in office in the United States.
Moore is seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party. Over the last five months, Moore has used the office to raise his national profile much as his Republican predecessor Gov. Larry Hogan did.
Moore in recent months has expressed public support for Biden.
Gonzales downplayed the Biden-Moore matchup in his poll despite some of the concerning numbers.
“Nobody’s going to challenge the incumbent,” he said.