Poll: Baker leads Democratic primary field in wide open race for governor

Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III leads a wide-open Democratic primary race for governor, according to a new poll.

A survey conducted by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies from Dec. 27 through Jan. 5 showed Baker leading the race with 24 percent of respondents saying they would vote for him if the election were held today. He was followed by Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz (14 percent) and former NAACP president Ben Jealous (14 percent).

About 33 percent of the 501 likely Democratic voters polled said they were undecided.

Public policy consultant Maya Rockeymoore Cummngs, who has dropped out of the race, was in fourth with 6 percent.

State Sen. Richard Madaleno of Montgomery County (4 percent); Krish Vignarajah, former policy director for first lady Michelle Obama (2 percent); tech entrepreneur Alec Ross (1 percent); and Jim Shea, former partner of the Venable law firm (1 percent), rounded out the field.

“Rushern Baker has a lead. He is what I would describe as the front-runner,” said Patrick E. Gonzales, who conducted the poll. “But I would still describe it as an election to be decided in the next six months.”

Baker polled strongest in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, while Kamenetz led in Baltimore County and Jealous in Baltimore City.

“Baker has a geographical base in the Washington area that gives him a lead,” Gonzalez said. “In Democratic politics in Maryland, the Washington area is the game.”

The poll also asked Democratic primary voters what was their most important issue: 41 percent said removing President Donald Trump from office, while 25 percent said education and 19 percent said jobs.

“We have an electorate that is heavily motivated by the occupant of the White House,” Gonzalez said. “They’re all saying they hate Trump. How do you stand out?”

Gonzales polled on both landlines and cellphones. The margin of error is 4.5 percentage points.

The winner of the Democratic primary will face incumbent Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.

lbroadwater@baltsun.com

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