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One third of voters say Cox is ‘far or extreme right,’ and other takeaways from the WYPR/Banner poll

Del. Dan Cox, a Maryland state lawmaker who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor of Maryland, talks to reporters, in Annapolis, Md., Thursday, June 30, 2022.
Brian Witte
Del. Dan Cox, a Maryland state lawmaker is the Republican nominee for governor.

A new poll conducted by Goucher College in partnership with WYPR and The Baltimore Banner finds that, if the midterm election were held today, Democrats would likely sweep the statewide races on the ballot. The Democratic candidates for governor, attorney general and U.S. Senate all lead their Republican opponents by at least 20 points. The poll also finds that 35% of likely voters see Republican gubernatorial nominee Dan Cox as “far or extreme right.”

Jim Marshall is among that 35% of voters. The Howard County resident and registered independent describes his political views as “center-right.”

“His stance on abortion and his support of Donald Trump and how he questions the validity of the last presidential vote and his stance on what happened on Jan. 6 — it's just very hard for any moderate person to swallow,” Marshall told WYPR.

But while Cox’s views are too extreme for Marshall, so are Democrat gubernatorial nominee Wes Moore’s.

“At this point, I think I’m going to write in Kelly Schulz,” Marshall said, referring to Gov. Larry Hogan’s pick to be his successor, who lost the Republican primary to Cox in July.

Marshall is among just 1% of likely voters polled who plan to vote for a governor whose name isn’t on the ballot. The majority — 53% — said they plan to vote for Moore.

“I tend to vote for people who I think are best for the job, and when I compare the credentials of the Democratic contender to Dan Cox, well, there's hardly any comparison to be made at all,” said Scott Geare, a registered Republican who lives in Pikesville. “Wes Moore is so much more accomplished and, I believe, more intelligent than the Republican candidate, that it's a lay down.”

On the other hand, 31% of likely voters said they plan to back Cox.

Cox appeals to people who want a change, said Rob Enders, of Queen Anne’s County, who plans to vote for the Republican. And that includes Marylanders who have supported Democrats in the past.

“They feel the hardship of the policies that have been implemented or victims of crime or can't hardly make ends meet or afford housing or the food prices and all that,” he said.

Enders, like the vast majority of likely voters polled, said he is firm on his choice of governor.

Yolanda Seabrooks was among just 28% who said they could change their minds. For now, at least, the West Baltimore resident is leaning toward supporting Moore.

“We've had a lot of, you know, career politicians, people who have kind of been part of the machine for a long time,” Seabrooks said. “I think it would be helpful to have someone with a little bit different experience and background, but also someone who's kind of a son of Baltimore and understands the issues impacting the citizens of the city and the state, as well.”

As for which issues voters say should be among the next governor’s chief concerns, more than 60% of voters polled named the economy and taxes; crime and public safety; and public schools and education.

Judy Engelskirch, who lives in Anne Arundel County, said crime is a top concern for her.

“I used to live in Baltimore. I love Baltimore. I'm a Baltimore girl,” she said. “But you know, my daughter is now living in Baltimore, and I worry every day because the crime has really increased, drastically, I think, over the last five, 10 years.”

Engelskirch was among the 46% of Maryland residents polled who said the government should spend more money addressing the social and economic causes of crime, such as mental health, drug addiction, housing and education. Just over a quarter of those polled said more money should be spent on the criminal justice system and training police, and just under a quarter said the government should do both.

Read the full poll results here.

Kristen Mosbrucker contributed reporting.

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