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Most Marylanders face money troubles, poll finds

 Source: Flickr/thenoodleator
Source: Flickr/thenoodleator

Recent price increases have caused “financial hardship” for the majority of Marylanders, according to a new Goucher College poll released Monday.

Asked about their personal financial situation, a third of Marylanders polled said it is worse than it was a year ago. Nearly a third said recent price increases have caused “major” financial hardship for them or others in their household, while another quarter of those polled said higher prices have caused “minor” financial hardship.

However, Mileah Kromer, who runs the poll as the director of the Sarah T. Hughes Center for Politics at Goucher College, highlighted a silver lining in the poll results.

“Although I think at the individual level, people are starting to feel the pinch of the economic conditions, as suggested by saying that it's been a major or minor impact in their life, it has yet to fully affect their perceptions of the state economy more broadly,” Kromer said.

The poll found that 52% of Marylanders have a “mostly positive” view of the state economy.

Asked what the state should do with its historic, multi-billion-dollar budget surplus, poll respondents were evenly split over whether to spend it on public services or cut taxes.

Kromer said this finding is a little surprising.

“Typically, in a state like Maryland where you have a large percentage of Democrats, who are generally supportive, at least on our previous polls, of increasing funding for things like public transportation and education, you would typically, I think, see a larger percentage of individuals saying that they want to see increased funding for public services,” she said. “But I think this question also speaks to the sort of larger economic picture that the Goucher Poll has painted this time around.”

Gov. Larry Hogan continued to poll well, with 65% of respondents saying they approve or strongly approve of the job he is doing. That is roughly on par with his approval ratings in the Goucher polls released in March and October 2021.

By contrast, Marylanders are evenly split over whether they approve of how President Joe Biden is handling his job.

Legalizing recreational marijuana continues to be popular among those polled, with 62% saying they support the move. An amendment to the state constitution legalizing the drug is pending in the General Assembly. If it passes, the question will be on the ballot in November.

Rachel Baye is a senior reporter and editor in WYPR's newsroom. @RachelBaye
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