Latest poll: O'Malley, Ehrlich 'essentially tied'

Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley and Republican former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. remain “essentially tied” according to results of a Rasmussen Reports poll released Thursday.

The statewide telephone survey of 750 likely voters conducted Tuesday shows O’Malley with 45 percent support and Ehrlich with 44 percent. For the third straight month, the difference fell well within the 4 percent margin of error.

In the first independent survey to be released since former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin endorsed businessman Brian Murphy for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, 3 percent said they supported what Rasmussen identified as “some other candidate.” The survey results do not name Murphy or any other candidate.

When taking into account “leaners” – defined by Rasmussen as respondents who initially indicate no preference for either of the candidates but say in a follow-up question they are leaning towards one of them – O’Malley and Ehrlich are tied with 47 percent support.

According to Rasmussen, the numbers without leaners are generally more significant early in a campaign; later the numbers with leaners matter more. Rasmussen continues to rate the race a toss-up.

Other findings, after the jump.• 90 percent of Republicans support Ehrlich; 70 percent of Democrats support O’Malley.

• 78 percent of O’Malley voters say they already are certain how they will vote in November; 72 percent of Ehrlich voters say the same.

• 55 percent of all voters say O’Malley is either somewhat or very liberal; 25 percent say he is a moderate.

• 76 percent of all voters say Ehrlich is either somewhat or very conservative; 13 percent say he is a moderate.

• 55 percent describe the views of O’Malley’s and 51 percent describe the views of Ehrlich as mainstream. 30 percent describe the views of Ehrlich and 27 percent describe the views of O’Malley as extreme.

• 54 percent approve of O’Malley’s performance as governor, up from 50 percent in July. 45 percent disapprove.

• 55 percent have a somewhat or very favorable impression of O’Malley; 42 percent have a somewhat or very unfavorable impression.

• 56 percent have a somewhat or very favorable impression of Ehrlich; 38 percent have a somewhat or very unfavorable impression.

Earlier this summer, The Sun examined the role of partisan pollsters in the Maryland governor's race.

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