By Shannon Clark
ANNAPOLIS – Maryland Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wes Moore holds a 32-percentage-point lead over Republican opponent Dan Cox in the governor’s race on Nov. 8, according to a University of Maryland-The Washington Post poll.
The poll’s results follow the Goucher College Poll, released on Sept. 19, in which 53% of Marylanders polled said they would vote for Moore and 31% percent for Cox.
The University of Maryland poll sampled 810 registered voters in Maryland by phone from Sept. 22–27. The poll used information from a research firm in the state to find and call registered voters, according to Michael Hanmer, professor and research director for the Center for Democracy and Civic Engagement.
Cox released a statement on Monday calling the survey a “fake push poll that is tainted towards MOORE” and that it withheld some results from publication. Cox says a news article that contains withheld information from the university’s poll states “50% (of participants) choose Dan Cox, while only 39% chose his opponent.”
“That doesn’t make any sense to me,” Hanmer said. “I’m not sure what he is referring to. I’m not aware of anything not being revealed related to the questions about the governor’s race.”
Some of the questions and answers from university poll were held from release, Hanmer said, because they were not related to the gubernatorial race.
“For example, we asked some questions about setting the voting age at 16 verus 18, which is something that happens in a number of Maryland communities… that has nothing to do with the governor’s race,” he said. “Those questions came at the end of the survey.”
Hanmer said all data will eventually be released.
Capital News Service did not find the news article Cox referenced in his statement. Capital News Service reached out to Cox’s press secretary, Lucy Kruse, regarding the article and did not receive a response.
In both polls, participants were asked what issues matter most to them. Sixty-four percent of voters in Goucher’s poll said the economy and taxes was most important for them, and 24% in the university’s poll said the economy was most important, which was followed closely in the university’s poll by “Threats to democracy” at 20%.
Crime was the third most important issue in the university poll at 16%
Nearly 60% of poll participants said Cox’s ideas and policies are “very similar” or ”similar” to former President Donald Trump, who has endorsed Cox’s candidacy and is scheduled to hold a $1,776 per person fundraiser for Cox Oct. 17 at Mar-a Largo.”
In comparison, the poll asked voters how important Moore becoming the first African-American governor in Maryland was in their voting decisions. Thirty-nine percent said “not at all” and 26% said “somewhat.”
With only 34 days from election day, 70% of those polled by the university said they were “certain to vote.”
Quincy Gamble, a Democratic operative who worked with former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during their campaigns, said while polls are not determinative of end election results, they are important in seeing where candidates stand in the race.
“You have to appreciate polls for what they are,” Gamble said. “They are a snapshot in time. They are affected by the news cycle and things that are happening with every political campaign. Polling over time has given us a really good shot of what’s going on in Maryland.”