By Len Lazarick
A majority of Maryland voters like Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and the job he’s doing, but “despite these typically reliable indicators of an incumbent’s political strength, Hogan’s party affiliation makes his re-election far from certain,” says a new a Mason-Dixon poll.
Statewide, three out of five voters (62%) view the governor favorably and a similar number (61%) approve of the job he is doing. Almost half of Democrats polled (49%) approve of his job.
But when matched against potential Democratic challengers — only one was even recognized by more than half of voters — Hogan’s support drops below 50% in every matchup. Only about 25% of Democrats say they will vote for him.
The results by Mason-Dixon Polling, which has been surveying Maryland for over 30 years, are not out of line with the results of a Goucher College poll released last week. But the two polls asked somewhat different questions in slightly different ways to different sets of Marylanders. Only the Mason-Dixon poll put up Hogan against Democratic challengers.
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker was both the most recognized of the announced Democratic candidates and the one who did the best against Hogan, Mason-Dixon found.
Hogan vs. Baker, 46%-39%
Baker only trails Hogan by 7-points (46%-39%) in a match-up.
Mason-Dixon says this is significant for two reasons: “Hogan is well below the 50% threshold that is generally considered ‘safe’ for an incumbent seeking reelection” and two, Hogan only has a only 7-point margin even though he is recognized favorably by 40% more voters than recognized Baker favorably.
The Goucher poll found that 51% of voters would definitely vote for Hogan (23%) and were leaning to vote for Hogan (28%).
Like the Goucher poll, 46% of Democratic voters in the Mason-Dixon poll are undecided which Democrat they would vote for in the primary. Baker leads with 28%, followed by Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz at 11%, and former national NAACP president Ben Jealous at 10%. Other candidates are in single digits.
The poll was conducted last week, Sept. 27-20, among 625 registered Maryland voters interviewed by cell phone and land line. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points. There was an additional sample of 400 registered Democrats who vote regularly in party primaries. The margin of error for that group is plus or minus 5 percentage points.
Here are the full results of the Mason-Dixon poll.