Majority in new poll think Maryland is headed in wrong direction

Majority in new poll think Maryland is headed in wrong direction

Sign photo above by Jack Zalium with Flickr Creative Commons License

By Len Lazarick

On a day that a new Washington Post poll had Republican Larry Hogan Jr. 9 points behind Anthony Brown in the race for governor, Hogan and the GOP could take some solace in a new Goucher College poll that said a majority of Marylanders believe the state is headed in the wrong direction.

The Goucher poll (full results here) also found that almost a third of Marylanders (31%) believed that their “personal financial situation” was worse than it was a year ago, and that the economy, jobs and taxes were the most important issues facing the state. Hogan has made these issues the keystones of his campaign.

However, most respondents had no more confidence that Republicans would handle those economic issues better than Democrats, and on social issues, the environment and education they expected Democrats to do better. The Washington Post poll found similar results on those issues.

Polls differ markedly in respondents, timing

While there were some points of comparison between the two polls, they differed markedly in whom they surveyed and when. From last Thursday through Sunday, The Post polled 1,005 adults, but reported only on the results of 807 likely voters.

The week before that, the Goucher poll interviewed 708 Marylanders regardless of their voting intentions, and it did not ask who respondents were voting for.

The two polls used both land lines and cell phones to contact respondents. Half of the respondents in the Goucher poll were contacted by cell phone. Some of the Post respondents were interviewed in Spanish.

The margin of error in the Goucher poll is 3.7%; in the Post poll it is 4%.

Both polls came at a time that the two candidates and their supporters had been running TV ads for weeks attacking their opponents.

Opinion of Hogan, Brown about even

Somewhat surprisingly, given the attack ads, Marylanders’ opinions of Hogan are about evenly divided (28% favorable, 27% unfavorable), but almost half (45%) don’t have an opinion either way. For Brown, it is 32% favorable and 35% unfavorable, with another third (32%) with no opinion. Goucher’s questions about the candidates did not mention their party.

“Without the respective party affiliations of the candidates given in the question, it appears many Marylanders are simply unsure how to rate Brown and Hogan,” said Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher and a political science professor there. “This is not the case when asked about policy areas; Marylanders are sure and sometimes divided on which party is best equipped to handle some of the key campaign issues.”

“The clock is ticking for the candidates to tell Marylanders who they are and where they stand,” Kromer said.

The candidates first TV debate airs tonight (Tuesday) at 7 p.m. on WJZ and Maryland Public Television.

In keeping with her commitment to full transparency, Kromer releases a detailed methodology of the polling techniques and survey methodology.

The Goucher poll results may not mirror the electorate that will actually vote, since turnout among young people and African Americans tends to be lower than their percentages in the total population.

O’Malley shouldn’t run for president

Almost two-thirds of Marylanders say Gov. Martin O’Malley shouldn’t run for president, a race he is currently exploring. Opposition to a presidential run was true regardless of gender, party or race, although Democrats and blacks were less opposed than others.

Opinions of O’Malley were about even (40% favorable, and 43% unfavorable). Women, Democrats and blacks have more favorable opinions of O’Malley.

Public school start after Labor Day

Seven out of 10 Marylanders (71%) favor starting the school year after Labor Day, a cause that is being pushed by Comptroller Peter Franchot. Support for the move includes both genders, all parties and races.

Ebola, Obama and Congress

In other poll results, two-thirds of Marylanders (66%) are “very” or “somewhat concerned” about an outbreak of Ebola in the United States; 44% believed Maryland is unprepared to handle such an outbreak. (The polling was done before state health officials publicized their preparations to handle such a disease.)

President Obama is still fairly popular in Maryland, with 54% approving of the job he is doing, the same number as a Goucher poll found a year ago.

Congress is still in the ratings doghouse, with 79% disapproving of the way it is handling its job. However, almost half of those polled (49%) approve of the way their own U.S. representative is handling the job.

About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.


  1. David Eberhardt

    chk Dan Rodrix in Md Sunpapers of 10/24 on how hogan misrepresents facts on md business- look- if you can’t speak plain facts
    well then- go ahead move to that wretched state to the north- delaware- you’ll enjoy watching the annual migration of horsehoe crabs on the beach
    md is a beautiful state- let beretta killeers or bechtal whiners- MOVE THE F OUT

  2. Jeffrey Bykowski

    They may not like the direction, but they’ll still elect Democrats! Eight years ago, Robert Ehrlich had an approval rating of over 55% yet, the state elected O’Malley for the sole reason he was a Democrat. Four years later, after O’Malley did what most of us with an open mind knew was going to do and destroy the Maryland Economy, they still voted for O’Malley just because he was a Democrat. Until a day comes when the delusional folks of this state stop voting only along party lines, we will continue to pay taxes (not fees as O’Malley used against Ehrlich 8 years ago, funny how that rhetoric changed…) above the national average and we will realize a continued exodus from this state of valuable, productive tax paying workers/citizens in the continued decline of our home. I’ve watched the ads against Hogan. They only point out distorted flaws of him. They do nothing to show what Antony Brown will do that will benefit Maryland. Yet somehow, I am positive he (Brown) will be our next governor. At which point the same people who elected him, will be complaining about how messed up things are. Crazy!

    • Frank_Van

      Can only agree. it is so unfortunate. Marylanders act as a herd of sheep with little understanding how creativity, energy and positive can-do attitude helps create prosperity. There are now almost as many government, federal, state, local and school jobs as the rest of the working population that has to produce the real taxes. They have become “rent seekers” who will defend their position until we follow Detroit into bankruptcy.

      • Jeffrey Bykowski

        But they won’t follow Detroit. There is the Federal Reserve and they can write checks that the rest of us can’t. We are in essence, the providers of the bottomless checking account for our Federal Government. As for the states, they can have zealots like O’Malley write check after check but even he doesn’t have the same pull in Washington that our democratically elected officials do in providing a chicken in every pot and not giving a rat’s ass who pays for it.

    • MuzzlEnergy

      I agree totally. I also feel that there’s a good dose of voter fraud thrown in for good measure.
      MD (dem voters) clearly fits the definition of insanity.