By Len Lazarick
According to a new statewide Goucher College poll, Marylanders like the positions the Democrats nominee for governor, Ben Jealous, has taken on several issues. They support a $15 an hour minimum wage, they back Medicare for All health insurance, and they favor legalization of marijuana.
Yet, majorities agree with Republican Gov. Larry Hogan that Maryland taxes are too high, two-thirds think Hogan has done a good job, and is a moderate who has distanced himself from President Trump. And a majority, 54%, think the state is headed in the right direction.
Those are among the results of a poll taken this past week of 831 Maryland adults, but only 696 were registered voters, so the results are not necessarily predictive of the general election. The results of the poll pitting Hogan and Jealous head to head will be released early Wednesday.
“It’s clear why taxes are a persistent concern for voters,” said pollster Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher which conducted the opinion survey. “Marylanders think they pay too much in taxes, that the tax system favors the rich, and don’t trust the state government to spend their money wisely. … But misgivings toward taxes aside, residents hold a positive outlook for their personal financial situations.”
KROMER’S ANALYSIS AND FULL RESULTS
Here is Kromer’s analysis of the poll in her own words, along with a link to the full results of the poll and its detailed methodology. Kromer says:
Last September, 55% said Maryland was heading in the right direction and 31% said Maryland is off on the wrong track—the lowest point during Gov. Hogan’s tenure in office. That number rebounded in February, but has since fallen back. Fifty-four percent say Maryland is heading in the right direction and 30% say Maryland is off on the wrong track.
Support for increasing the statewide minimum wage to $15 dollars per hour has risen slightly among Marylanders since last spring. Seventy-one percent of Marylanders support raising the statewide minimum wage to $15 dollars per hour, 25% oppose it. By comparison, in February 2018, 66% supported increasing the minimum wage in Maryland to $15 per hour.
The majority of Marylanders—56%—consider the overall amount of state taxes they have to pay as “too high,” while 41% say the amount of state taxes they have to pay is “about right.” Only 2% think they pay “too little” in state taxes.
Residents were also asked what groups of people they think the Maryland tax system favors:
- 48% say it favors the wealthy
- 13% say it treats everyone equally
- 9% say it favors the poor
- 8% say it favors the middle class
Marylanders are divided in their trust in the state government to spend their tax dollars wisely. Fifty-five percent have “no” or “a little” trust, while 42% have “some” or “a lot” of trust.
Attitudes toward personal financial situations were also measured. A majority of residents—51%—expect their current financial situation to get better a year from now. Thirty-six percent expect it to stay about the same and 10% expect it to get worse. Looking back, 32% say their financial situation is “better” than it was a year ago, 53% say it’s “about the same,” and 14% say it’s “worse.”
Medicare for All and the Affordable Care Act
Marylanders express similarly favorable opinions toward the Affordable Care Act—commonly known as Obamacare—and Medicare for All, a single payer health care system.
- 60% hold a favorable opinion of the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare and 33% hold an unfavorable opinion of it.
- 54% hold a favorable opinion of Medicare for All/single-payer health system and 33% hold an unfavorable opinion of it.
Respondents were then asked whether they wanted Maryland elected officials to focus on “improving the way the Affordable Care Act is working for Maryland” or “adopting a statewide, single payer Medicare for All plan for Maryland.”
- 46% prefer that Maryland elected officials focus on improving the Affordable Care Act.
- 29% prefer that Maryland elected officials focus on adopting a statewide, single payer Medicare for All plan.
“Support for a state-based Medicare for All plan distinguished Ben Jealous as a candidate for governor from the rest of the field during the Democratic primary,” said Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College. “However, opinions toward adopting a single-payer health care system are nuanced.
“Marylanders do view Medicare for All favorably, but a majority still prefers that elected officials focus on improving the way the Affordable Care Act is working for Maryland.”
Gov. Larry Hogan and President Donald Trump
Marylanders have consistently given Larry Hogan good marks during his tenure as governor. Sixty-four percent of Marylanders approve of the job Larry Hogan is doing as governor, 17% disapprove, and 17% say they don’t know.
Marylanders continue to give the job performance of President Donald Trump low marks. Twenty-three percent of Marylanders approve of the job Donald Trump is doing as president and 71% disapprove.
Maryland residents were asked additional questions about Gov. Hogan, including his ideological leanings and his distance from President Trump; attitudes are consistent with the findings of the April 2018 Goucher Poll.
- 48% of Marylanders think that Gov. Hogan is a moderate, 27% see him as a conservative, and 10% view the governor as a progressive. Fourteen percent say they don’t know.
- 45% of Maryland residents believe that Gov. Hogan has distanced himself about the right amount from President Trump. Twenty-four percent of respondents believe Gov. Hogan has distanced himself too little from President Trump, and 8% think he has distanced himself too much from President Trump. Twenty-one percent say they don’t know.
Legalization of Recreational Marijuana
The majority of Marylanders—62%—support the legalization of marijuana for recreational use, and 33% oppose legalization.