In the first media poll since the June 26 primary, pollster Patrick Gonzales finds Republican Gov. Larry Hogan getting over 50% support for the first time against a Democrat. The campaign of Democrat Ben Jealous questioned the poll, noting that Gonzales failed to accurately predict the primary results.
Below is Gonzales’s own summary analysis and here is a link to the full results of his poll. Below that is the response to the poll by the Jealous campaign and the Hogan campaign. Gonzales will be discussing the poll results on WBAL AM 1090 with C4 at 10 a.m. Tuesday.
By Patrick Gonzales
Gonzales Research and Media Services
This state has not re-elected a Republican governor in 64 years, since Theodore McKeldin did it back in 1954, and we haven’t re-elected any statewide Republican since U.S. Senator Charles “Mac” Mathias won a third term in 1980.
If the Maryland election for governor were held today, GOP incumbent Larry Hogan would be re-elected, becoming a near Halley’s Comet-like phenomenon.
Statewide, 52% support Republican Hogan, 36% support Democratic candidate Ben Jealous, 1% say they’ll vote for either Libertarian candidate Shawn Quinn or Green Party candidate Ian Schlakman, and 11% are undecided.
Boosting Hogan’s re-election effort is that voters, by a 3-to-1 margin, feel confident about the way things are going here. Sixty-three percent say things in the state are moving in the right direction, compared to 21% who think things are off on the wrong track.
Hurting Hogan’s attempt is that national GOP standard bearer Donald Trump engenders harsh, negative reactions among Free State voters. Thirty-six percent have a favorable opinion of Trump, while 58% have an unfavorable opinion of him (50% “very unfavorable”). Moreover, a likewise slender 36% approve of the job Trump is doing as president, while a stout 59% disapprove (52% “strongly disapprove”).
Jealous has gotten no discernible bump from his noteworthy win in June’s primary. We investigated voter views to see if ill will toward Trump might give Jealous’ campaign a spark, and abet his stab at the State House. Trump’s negatives might ultimately help him, but only a tad.
Just 13% overall of those not yet voting for Jealous say they would “consider voting for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous as a way to express disapproval of Donald Trump.” With Democrats, only 26% not yet voting for Jealous say they would consider doing so simply to protest Trump.
The former NAACP President will need to work out a way to infuse some pizzazz into his campaign within the next month, in order to give himself at least a modicum of momentum for the fall campaign. The burden is always on the Republican in deep-blue Maryland, but the Democrat still does need some positive thrust.
Statement from the Jealous campaign
Last week, the Jealous campaign provided an internal poll briefing to members of the media which showed a much more competitive race, with Jealous trailing by less than 10 points despite hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on negative attack ads against his candidacy. Furthermore, Jealous’ polling presentation showed that once Marylanders became informed of Jealous’ platform and vision for the state in comparison to Larry Hogan’s, the race becomes a statistical tie.
Jealous’ polling has more accurately reflected movement in the race in comparison to Gonzales as evidenced by Gonzales’s last poll before the Democratic primary. In June, Gonzales placed Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker with 25% support followed by Jealous at 23% – Jealous ultimately went on to win the primary that month with 40% of the vote, besting Baker by 11% and capturing 22 out of 24 Maryland jurisdictions. The same June Gonzales poll had Baker winning Montgomery County 23% to Madaleno’s 22%. Jealous won Montgomery County 36% to Baker’s 32%.
Jealous campaign senior adviser Kevin Harris said the following:
“Based on past precedent, these poorly designed public polls have never accurately predicted or captured the mood of Marylanders as we saw from the primary” Harris said. “The truth is this is a competitive race which is why Republicans have spent more than a million dollars lying about Ben’s record. We will continue building a robust field operation to mobilize Democrats to the polls around Ben’s vision for fully funding education, providing relief to skyrocketing healthcare and prescription drug costs, and creating good paying jobs for Marylanders.”
Statement from the Hogan campaign
“This poll emphasizes that under Governor Hogan’s leadership, the overwhelming majority of Marylanders are confident that our state is headed in the right direction. This poll also shows that the more people come to understand Ben Jealous’ plan to dramatically raise taxes on every man, woman, and child in Maryland, the less they like him.”