Gov. Larry Hogan during a news conference in the Governor's Reception Room in the State House on Tuesday, March 8.
Gov. Larry Hogan during a news conference in the Governor's Reception Room in the State House on Tuesday, March 8. (Pamela Wood / The Baltimore Sun)

A new poll shows the Democrats who approve of Maryland's Republican Gov. Larry Hogan are more likely to be African-American. Or young. Or lack a college degree.

A survey of 802 primary voters conducted for The Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore this month found what several other polls have also concluded: Hogan is pretty popular among voters of both parties.

But a close look at his approval ratings among the 402 Democratic primary voters surveyed reveals Hogan is significantly more popular among some of the demographic groups he least resembles.

The poll found Democrats who identify themselves as African-American back the governor by 6 percentage points more than their white counterparts - 61 percent versus 55 percent.

His popularity is more dramatic among younger voters. The 59-year-old's approval-rating among younger Democrats is as much as 16 percentage-points higher than with older voters. At least 65 percent of voters under 50 years old approve of him, and the figure jumps to 68 percent for voters under 35.  For Democratic primary voters over 50, meanwhile, about 52 percent approve of the job Hogan has done since assuming office a little over a year ago.

And his popularity is even more pronounced among Democratic voters with less formal education. His approval rating is highest among Democrats with a high school degree or less - 22 points higher than among Democrats with graduate degrees.

The numbers suggest a philosophical divide among Maryland's Democrats, said Steve Raabe, president of Annapolis-based OpinionWorks, which conducted the poll.

Democratic primary voters who identified themselves as conservative or moderate were at least 29 percentage-points more likely to approve of Hogan than those who identified themselves as progressive or very progressive. In deep blue Maryland, Raabe said, African-Americans and those with less education have traditionally been among the Democratic party's more conservative voters.

"Even though it's a voter group that's reliably Democratic for the most part, it doesn't mean that they're liberal," Raabe said. "Maybe they're more open to a moderate Republican governor."


Among Republicans, Hogan enjoys near universal popularity. Ninety-three percent of the 400 Republican primary voters surveyed approve of the job Hogan is doing.

The poll of primary voters did not include independent or unaffiliated voters, which means it's not statistically valid to compare his ratings from this poll to previous polls of the broader electorate.

Since Democrats outnumber Republicans by 2 to 1 in Maryland, the governor must secure support of at least some of members of the opposing party to get re-elected in 2018. While the election is years away, the governor has suggested he wants a second term and the poll gives an early hint at where he's been most successful with Democrats.

The poll also found Hogan has more fans among Baltimore Democrats than those in the Washington suburbs of Montgomery or Prince George's counties, where his approval ratings are 19 and 24 points lower, respectively, than in the city.