Rasmussen: Md. Governor Race Neck and Neck

Monday, 12 Jul 2010 12:58 PM

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The Maryland gubernatorial race remains close, with incumbent Democrat Martin O’Malley and Republican challenger Bob Ehrlich in a virtual tie again this month.

Ehrlich has 47 percent support to O’Malley’s 46 percent, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely voters, while 2 percent prefer some other candidate and 5 percent remain undecided.

As expected, the rematch of the 2006 race has been close from the start and has been getting even closer as time goes on. In February, O’Malley led 49 percent to 43 percent, but by April it was a closer 47 percent to 44 percent. The two were tied last month with 45 percent apiece.

Still, Ehrlich faces an uphill struggle to reclaim the office he held from 2003 to 2007 in a state that trends strongly Democratic. But Marylanders, like voters nationwide, remain pessimistic about the economy.

Just 11 percent of Maryland voters rated the economy as good in the July 8 survey of 500 voters, while 44 percent view it as bad. Although 35 percent say the economy is getting better, 42 percent say it’s getting worse. Although bleak, these assessments are a bit more positive than the national view.

Two-thirds of the voters in the state say the country is in recession.

In the 2006 election, then-Baltimore Mayor O’Malley defeated Ehrlich, the first GOP governor in the state since the 1960s, by a 53-percent-to-46-percent margin.

Ehrlich claims 87 percent of the state’s GOP vote and 22 percent of Maryland Democrats, while O’Malley earns just 71 percent support in his own party. Voters not affiliated with either major party prefer the Republican by 15 points.
Even in a state as reliably Democratic as Maryland51 percent of voters continue to favor repeal of the new national healthcare bill, although that’s several points lower than views nationally. And the 47 percent who oppose repeal includes 41 percent who strongly favor repeal and 35 percent who strongly oppose it.

Just over 80 of those who strongly favor repeal support Ehrlich, while 80 percent of those who strongly oppose it favor O’Malley.

Marylanders also remain much less supportive of Arizona’s new immigration law than voters nationally. Almost half of voters in the state favor passage of such a law in Maryland, while 35 percent oppose such a law and 16 percent are not sure.

Half of the voters approve of the job O’Malley is doing as governor, down four points from a month ago, and 48 percent disapprove.

The governor is viewed very favorably by 26 percent of the state’s voters and very unfavorably by 28 percent.

One-third have a very favorable opinion of Ehrlich, a congressman from the south Baltimore area before his election as governor, while 20 percent view him very unfavorably.

Both men are well-known in the state, but at this point in a campaign, Rasmussen Reports considers the number of people with a strong opinion more significant than the total favorable/unfavorable numbers.

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