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Maryland Democrats lead in WYPR/Banner voter poll, few undecided

MH gov candidates Moore Cox
Credit: Candidate campaign Facebook pages
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Democrat Wes Moore will face Republican Dan Cox in November's general election for governor.

A new Goucher College Poll conducted in partnership with WYPR and the Baltimore Banner shows the Democrats vying for statewide office in a strong position going into the final month and a half of the campaign. WYPR state government and politics reporter Rachel Baye joined Nathan Sterner to look at the numbers.

Sterner:

Rachel, just how strong a position are Democrats in?

Baye:

Our poll looked at four statewide races. Of the likely voters polled, more than half said they plan to vote for the Democratic candidates for governor, attorney general and U.S. Senate. In fact, each of those candidates has at least a 20-point lead over their Republican counterparts.

And nearly half of likely voters said they would vote for Democrat Brooke Lierman for comptroller, compared with just over a third who said they would vote for her Republican opponent, Barry Glassman.

Sterner:

We are still 50 days from the Election. Do we have a sense of how likely those numbers are to change between now and then?

Baye:

Polls are just a snapshot in time — in fact, one person who told the poll taker he was undecided in the governor’s race told me on Friday he now plans to vote for Democrat Wes Moore.

But he was among only 9% of respondents who said they are undecided in that race.

And when we asked likely voters if they could change their mind about who they want for governor, 69% said they are set.

Mileah Kromer, who runs the Goucher College Poll, told me that things don’t look good for Republican gubernatorial nominee Dan Cox.

Kromer: 

“Because it’s a numbers game — so the mathematical look at this is that Cox is not getting anywhere near the amount of Democratic voters and independent voters that he would need right now to put together a winning coalition.”

Baye:

She said, based on these numbers, if Democrats turn out to vote at a reasonable rate, Moore will likely win the election. Because, most Democrats polled said they plan to vote for Moore.

Sterner: 

Right — because registered Republicans only make up about a quarter of voters in Maryland, and Republican Gov. Larry Hogan won his two terms with help from a lot of Democrats and independents.

Baye: 

Yes, polls have consistently told us that voters see Hogan as a moderate. In recent weeks, Cox has tried to convey himself as a moderate. For example, at a forum last week, he said he would govern from a, “middle temperament approach.”

But this new poll tells us that Cox has so far not convinced most voters. We asked voters to classify both Cox and Moore as far or extreme right, conservative, moderate, progressive or liberal, or far or extreme left.

I’ll let Mileah Kromer explain the findings.

Kromer: 

“Wes Moore falls right around where most Maryland voters see themselves: 36% say he's a progressive or liberal, 22% say that he's a moderate. That lines up sort of nicely with how Maryland voters see themselves. On the other hand, 35% see Dan Cox as part of the far or extreme right, 24% say he's a conservative, and only 12% say he's a moderate.”

Sterner:

Aside from the horse race, what were some of the poll’s other notable findings?

Baye:

Crime and public safety is consistently one of the most important issues for voters, and that remained true in this poll. This time we also asked for people’s views on how to reduce crime.

Forty-six percent said the government should spend more money addressing the social and economic causes of crime, compared with 27% who said the government should spend more to strengthen the criminal justice system and train police.

What was really interesting was that 22% couldn’t decide between the two choices and asked to choose both, which was not one of the options they were given.

Sterner:

Thank you, Rachel.

Baye: 

My pleasure.

Read the full poll results here.

Rachel Baye is a reporter for WYPR's newsroom.
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