Hogan leads potential Democratic rivals in new statewide poll

A broadly popular Gov. Larry Hogan enjoys a double-digit lead over three of his prospective Democratic rivals but the Republican still falls short of the 50 percent mark, a new poll shows.

The Gonzales Maryland Poll released Thursday shows that the Republican governor receives high approval ratings from voters across the political spectrum.

Hogan’s performance is viewed favorably by 71 percent of Marylanders, according to the poll. His approval numbers are a sky-high 86 percent among Republicans and 78 percent of independents, but he is also viewed favorably by 61 percent of Democrats.

With all those advantages, Hogan still falls short of an absolute majority in his matchups against three contenders for the Democratic nomination — the top finishers in a previous Gonzales poll of the Democratic primary.

Matched against Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, Hogan leads by 47 percent to 37 percent, with 16 percent undecided.

Against Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Hogan leads 48 percent to 34 percent, with 18 percent undecided.

In a contest against former NAACP national president Ben Jealous, Hogan is ahead 49 percent to 36 percent, with 15 percent undecided.

The poll found that Hogan has the support of 90 percent of Republicans, while his support among independents hovers in the mid-50s against all of his opponents. The poll found he has strong backing, about 70 percent, in Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore and is polling in the mid- to upper-50s in the Baltimore suburbs.

In spite of his high approval among Democrats, he has locked down the re-election votes of only about one-quarter of them against all three candidates.

Hogan’s support could be dampened by Marylanders’ distaste for Republican President Donald J. Trump. The poll found that 36 percent approve of Trump’s performance, while 60 percent disapprove. Among Democrats, the margin for disapproval is 78 percent to 19 percent, while Republicans approve by 73 percent to 25 percent. Independents disapprove 62 percent to 30 percent.

The tax bill passed last month by the Republican Congress with Trump’s support is doing little to bolster the president’s support in Maryland, which is expected to be one of the states that fare worst under the bill because of its cap on deductions for state and local taxes.

According to the poll, 55 percent of Marylanders oppose the bill and 33 percent approve. Another 12 percent did not answer the question.

This poll of 823 registered Maryland voters who intend to vote in November was conducted between Dec. 27 and Jan 5. The survey was based on live telephone interviews using landlines and cellphones. The margin of error is estimated at 3.5 percentage points.

mdresser@baltsun.com

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