Maryland, it’s said, is a state of middle temperament. And that’s more or less reflected in a poll on how Maryland voters view their U.S. senators: favorably, but without exuberance.
The political website Morning Consult surveyed 5,000 voters a day in all 50 states over the last quarter of 2019 to get their views on several issues and political leaders.
The poll of Marylanders found that U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D) is viewed favorably by 49% of voters and unfavorably by 23%. Another 28% answered “don’t know.”
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D) had a 46% favorable rating and a 22% unfavorable rating, while 28% said they didn’t know. The margin of error for the Maryland portion of the poll was 1 point.
To put this in context, the list of most popular U.S. senators was led by Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who was viewed favorably by 65% of his constituents. Three other senators had favorable ratings above 60%, and the rest of the top 10 list was rounded out by senators whose favorable ratings ranged from 58% to 52%.
Sanders wasn’t the only Democratic presidential contender to crack the top 10: Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar was viewed favorably by 56% of her constituents, compared to 31% who viewed her unfavorably.
Another Democrat running for president, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, was No. 9 on the list of least popular senators, but at least she still had a 10-point positive favorable rating. She was viewed favorably by 50% of her constituents and unfavorably by 40%.
Four Republican senators who face tough re-elections in 2020 are on the least popular top 10, led by Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who was viewed favorably by 42% of her constituents and unfavorably by 52%. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was No. 2 on the list, with a 37%-50% favorable to unfavorable rating.
Another potential vulnerable Republican up for re-election this year, North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, didn’t make the bottom 10 list for favorability, but was viewed favorably by 37% of his constituents and unfavorably by 40%. The most vulnerable Democratic senator seeking re-election this year, Doug Jones of Alabama, had a 41%-35% favorable to unfavorable rating.
Maryland Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) just rang up a 75% favorability rating in the most recent poll of Maryland voters, taken in late December and early January.
But in the most recent poll for Morning Consult, Hogan was still stuck in the No. 2 position, with a 69%-16% favorable to unfavorable rating for the fourth quarter of 2019. Significantly, though, there is a new No. 1, according to Morning Consult: After trailing Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) for several quarters, Hogan now finds himself behind Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R), who had a 69%-11% favorable to unfavorable rating.
Baker dropped to the No. 3 slot: He’s viewed favorably by 69% of his constituents, but unfavorably by 19%. All 10 of the most nation’s popular governors are Republicans, Morning Consult found.
Whether the gap between Hogan’s popularity and Van Hollen’s prompts the governor to consider challenging the first-term senator in 2022, when Hogan will be termed out of office, is hard to say. A Washington Post poll taken in October found Hogan leading 51% to 41% in a hypothetical matchup. The poll of 860 adults had a 4.5-point margin of error.
Since becoming governor in 2015, Hogan has never expressed any interest in serving in the U.S. Senate. Even with the numbers in the Post poll, Van Hollen would be a far more formidable opponent than Hogan has faced in his two races for governor. A race for federal office would have a different kind of dynamic as well.