In a survey conducted by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies from June 4 through Sunday, 46 percent of Maryland Democrats say the most important issue for them in the primary election is “removing Donald Trump from office,” even though that is beyond the power of Maryland’s governor. The other top issues for Democrats were: public education (26 percent), the economy (10 percent) and public safety (8 percent).
The Gonzales poll found that Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker and former NAACP president Ben Jealous are the front-runners in the Democratic primary to challenge Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. Recent polls from The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post also found the race is a statistical tie between the two men.
Baker led the Gonzales poll of Democratic primary voters with 25 percent support, followed by Jealous, who had 23 percent. State Sen. Richard Madaleno of Montgomery County polled in third place with 9 percent, followed by former Montgomery County Council member Valerie Ervin with 7 percent.
Lawyers Jim Shea (6 percent) and Krish Vignarajah (5 percent) came in fifth and sixth in the field. Tech entrepreneur Alec Ross polled in seventh with 2 percent support.
“Geography is driving this election,” pollster Patrick Gonzales wrote, noting that Jealous is leading in the Baltimore region, while Baker leads in the D.C. area
None of the Democratic candidates for governor polled well against Hogan, the survey showed.
Hogan leads each of his possible general election opponents by double-digit margins, with Baker keeping it most competitive. Hogan leads Baker 48 to 37 percent in a head-to-head matchup with the Republican incumbent with 15 percent undecided, the poll found.
Against Jealous, Hogan leads 52 percent to 34 percent with 14 percent undecided.
Surprisingly, Hogan is polling in a statistical tie with both Baker and Jealous in deep-blue Baltimore City, where Democrats outnumber Republicans 10-to-1.
“Larry Hogan remains exceptionally popular in Maryland: 64% have a favorable opinion of him,” Gonzales wrote. “Men and women, blacks and whites, young and old, Baltimoreans, suburban Washingtonians, and rural Marylanders are all united in the positive emotion they feel for Hogan. Further, a laudable 75% of Maryland voters approve of the job Hogan is doing as governor.”
In contrast, 37 percent of Marylanders — and just 8 percent of Democrats — approve of the job Trump is doing in the White House, the survey found
The poll also showed that Marylanders are divided on whether to legalize gambling on sports after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a ban on such gambling in most states. The Gonzales poll showed 41 percent of Marylanders favor legalization, while 38 percent opposed sports betting, with 21 percent undecided.
The poll of 800 likely voters in Maryland had a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.