With only two months remaining, registered Maryland voters eligible to vote in the June 24 primary are clearly undecided about who should govern the state. More than two-thirds of Maryland Republican voters are undecided. Asked who they would vote for if the primaries were held today, 16% of registered Republicans clearly favor Larry Hogan. David Craig is Hogan’s strongest challenger, but trails in single digits at 7.8%. Niether Charles Lollar nor Ronald George is a credible candidate, with less than 4% each at this late stage in the race.
The Maryland Poll
This information was gathered through the Maryland Poll (MPoll), a research and teaching project of St. Mary’s Professor of Political Science Susan Grogan. Grogan’s sophomore-level American Politics class assisted with the design and analysis of the poll. The MPoll, said Grogan, seeks to make public opinion available to citizens and lawmakers in the state as a public service and to enrich the education of students by practice and engagement in the political process.
- A slight majority (54%) of Democrats also are undecided about who they would vote for as Maryland governor if the primaries were held today. Anthony Brown is the clear leader amongst polled Democrats with 27%, followed by Douglas Gansler at 11%. Heather Mizeur trails with 8%.
- With more than two years remaining before the 2016 presidential election, rather than asking for whom registered voters intend to vote, we asked them which Democrat and which Republican has the best chance of winning. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continues to dominate the Democratic field of candidates with two-thirds of all registered voters believing Clinton is the Democrat who has the best chance of winning the election. Elizabeth Warren at 11% polled slightly ahead of Vice President Joe Biden with 10%. Governors Martin O’Malley and Andrew Cuomo both polled at 6%.
- On the Republican side, Jeb Bush (34%) and Chris Christie (32%) are in a dead heat at the starting-line of the presidential marathon, each with one-third of registered Maryland voters thinking they have the best chance to win the election. Rand Paul at 19% and Mike Huckabee at 15% split the remainder.
- More respondents favor (35%) than oppose (31%) the current three-year Maryland moratorium on fracking set to expire this August, with a large sector (34%) expressing no opinion.
- On the other hand, more respondents favor approving than not (39% to 30%) Dominion Resources’ proposal to build a liquid natural gas export terminal at its import facility at Cove Point, on the Chesapeake Bay in Southern Maryland’s Calvert County.
- More feel that the environmental health of Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay is improving (28%) or staying about the same (47%) than getting worse (20%).
- Nevertheless, most think global temperatures have increased (46%) during the past century. A third believe that temperatures have stayed about the same (33%) with the remainder split between being unsure (15%) or stating that global temperatures have decreased (6%).
- Respondents are equally divided by thirds over whether or not their U.S. Congressional representative is doing a good (34%) or bad job (33%) , one-third being uncertain (33%).
- On the other hand, respondents are more negative and certain about whether Maryland is on the right track (41%) or headed in the wrong direction (46%), with few (13%) being uncertain.
- Fifty percent of Marylanders support decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, with 35% opposed. More Marylanders think the control of gun ownership (44%) is more important the right to own guns (33%), with 22% stating that both sides are equally important.
- A clear majority (60%) of respondents believe Maryland should focus equally on education and jobs and the economy. Nearly a third, 31%, feel the focus should be on jobs and the economy. Only 9% feel that education should be the primary focus.
- A majority of Marylanders (51%) say that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has had no effect on themselves or their families so far. Slightly more say that the ACA has hurt (26%) than those who believe it has helped (21%) their families.
- We asked Maryland voters whether or not they agree with this statement: “Minority groups need affirmative action to achieve greater success in the job market,” asking whether they strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree, or have no opinion. We found that opinions of the need for affirmative action are flatly distributed within the poll’s margin of error. Slightly more strongly agreed (24%) than strongly disagreed (20%) with those agreeing and disagreeing sitting squarely midway between the extremes at near 22% each. Only 12%expressed no opinion.
- Nearly two-thirds (65%) of respondents favor Maryland’s new minimum wage increase. Responses to both the affirmative action and minimum wage questions varied widely by race, region, and age.
MPoll’s surveys are conducted with an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, straticsnetworks.com, dialing a random sample of phone numbers procured from Aristotle Inc. Only landline numbers were called. Andrew Keiper, digital media specialist, recorded the students asking questions. Every respondent hears the same voice and wording, eliminating interviewer bias. Respondents enter choices directly by pressing numbers on their phones, reducing data entry errors.
This poll of 954 Maryland registered voters was conducted April 10-13, 2014. The responses were weighted for race, age, gender, and Maryland region to reflect 2010/11 U.S. Census data. The poll’s margin of error is 3.17%. Cross-tabs of results will be published on MPoll’s website: http://www.mpoll.org/. Essays on this poll, polls in general, and polling will be available on MPoll’s new blog Insights at http://insights.mpoll.org/.
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