Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s 68 percent approval rating at home – the second-highest among all American governors – isn’t enough to make much of a dent nationally, a new poll shows.
A Morning Consult/Politico national survey of 1,994 registered voters found that Hogan badly trails President Donald Trump in a hypothetical 2020 Republican presidential primary.
In the speculative matchup, 73 percent of self-identified Republicans said they would vote for Trump while 9 percent would vote for Hogan and 18 percent had no opinion, according to the poll, released Wednesday.
The survey, conducted March 22-24, had a 2-point margin of error. It did not list a margin of error for the subset of Republicans surveyed.
In similar hypotheticals, former governors who are contemplating a GOP primary challenge fared poorly as well.
Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich would garner 13 percent of the vote, compared to 72 percent for Trump, while former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, who is formally exploring a bid, would attract 8 percent of the vote to Trump’s 74 percent.
Without considering challengers, 77 percent of Republicans said they would definitely or probably vote to re-elect Trump.
“It’s so difficult for somebody to challenge an incumbent within their own party primary. That’s why it doesn’t happen. It’s a huge uphill battle,” said Mileah Kromer, a Goucher College political scientist and pollster.
Without confirming a run for president, Hogan has taken steps to raise his national profile: he took aim at Washington politics in an inaugural address penned by the late Arizona Sen. John McCain’s speechwriter, has appeared on national news shows, and is set to become chair of the National Governors Association in July. His current vice-chair post in the NGA gave him the benefit of a trip to Iowa earlier this month. And next month, he’s set to appear at a New Hampshire political breakfast that’s a must-attend event for presidential hopefuls.
But getting a critical level of national name recognition is tough, Kromer said.
“While those individuals who pay a lot of attention to politics might know that the Maryland governor is thinking about perhaps maybe challenging and he’s going to New Hampshire and Iowa, it’s really unlikely that Republicans from other parts of the country paid that much attention to it,” Kromer said.
Nine percent of those polled had a favorable opinion of Hogan, 12 percent had an unfavorable opinion and 60 percent had never heard of him. (Another 19 percent had heard of Hogan, but formed no opinion.)
Hogan has said a national run doesn’t make sense unless there is a major change in the national political landscape.
“To jump into a really contentious national political fight, there would have to be a realistic opening for him,” Kromer said. “…Governor Hogan enjoys being the governor of Maryland, so it’s not as if he has nothing else to do.”
Among all registered voters, 42 percent said they strongly or somewhat approve of Trump’s job performance, while 55 percent disapproved.
Twenty-seven percent said they would definitely vote to re-elect Trump, while 47 percent said they would definitely vote for someone else.