A new Goucher Poll released Tuesday has Gov. Larry Hogan leading Democratic challenger Ben Jealous by 22 points, despite high levels of support in Maryland for progressive policies.
According to the poll, 54 percent of likely voters in the state said they will vote for Hogan over Jealous.
However, a majority of those polled also expressed support for a $15 minimum wage, legalized recreational marijuana, and a single-payer health care system — all of which are policies Jealous promotes.
“I think it speaks to the fact that Jealous has not been on the airwaves at all this entire summer,” said Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College, where she oversees the Goucher Poll.
Jealous began airing his first television ad since the primary election on Monday, too late for it to factor into the Goucher poll results.
“It's not just about holding the policy positions that are consistent want. It's letting Marylanders know that you hold those positions that are consistent with what they want,” she said.
While other Democrats in the state have wide margins of support, Jealous hasn’t defined himself with the electorate, she said.
“On the other hand, the Republican Governors Association as well as the Hogan campaign, have certainly put a lot of effort into defining him."
She said that while the Jealous campaign may say it can catch up in the seven weeks remaining before the election, it will be tough.
“The Jealous campaign is going to make an argument for you that it's all about the blue wave,” she said. “And so regardless of any deficiencies that he may have against Larry Hogan right now, the second these Democratic voters hear the Jealous message, hear about the Democrat running for governor of Maryland, in combination with an up-swell of progressive voters because of national interests, that there's just too many Democrats in the state that they'll overwhelm Larry Hogan.”
But Kromer said that doesn’t account for the coalition of Republicans, independents and moderate Democrats that helped Hogan win four years ago, and that Hogan has rebuilt this time.
That leaves Jealous relying on Marylanders who don’t typically participate in elections, as well as a so-called “blue wave” of progressive voters energized by what’s going on in Washington.