Gov. Larry Hogan continues to have strong approval ratings from Marylanders as he heads into his re-election effort, according to the latest Goucher Poll.
Sixty-one percent of Marylanders approve of the job Hogan is doing as governor, according to a poll of 800 adults taken last week.
Of those polled, 18 percent disapproved of Hogan and 19 percent didn’t know.
The results for Hogan are virtually unchanged since the last Goucher Poll in September, when the Republican governor had a 62 percent approval rating. Hogan’s highest approval rating in the Goucher Poll was 70 percent in fall 2016.
But Hogan faces a drop-off when it comes to whether people will vote him into a second term in Annapolis. The Goucher Poll found that 47 percent of respondents were either leaning toward or definitely voting to re-elect Hogan — that number has dropped by 10 points since this time last year.
More than half a dozen Democrats are vying for the opportunity to go up against Hogan, who has not yet launched his re-election campaign. The deadline to file candidacy papers to run for office is Feb. 27.
In order to win another term, Hogan will need to continue to offer himself as a moderate candidate, said Mileah Kromer, director of Goucher College’s Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center.
“Governor Hogan’s re-election chances in blue Maryland are closely tied to the public perception that he is a moderate Republican who has distanced himself from Washington politics,” Kromer said.
In the poll, respondents were asked to place Hogan on the political spectrum, and 46 percent described him as a moderate.
They also were asked about Hogan’s responses to Republican President Donald J. Trump. Nearly half — 47 percent — said Hogan has distanced himself the right amount from Trump.
“The specter of an unpopular president with shared party affiliation still looms as a potential political problem for Mr. Hogan,” Kromer said.
Sixty percent of poll respondents said their views on the president would have little or no influence on their choice for governor. But 38 percent said their views on Trump would factor into their gubernatorial vote.
Trump had just a 27 percent approval rating in the poll, with 68 percent disapproving of his job as president. Congress fared even worse, with 11 percent approval and 83 percent disapproval.
The Goucher Poll surveyed 800 Maryland adults, including 658 who said they were registered voters. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.