ANNAPOLIS — Despite Democratic hand-wringing over how to respond to President Donald Trump’s policies, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan remains popular in deep-blue Maryland.
A majority of state residents — 57 percent — are leaning toward or definitely planning to vote to re-elect the governor in 2018, according to a new Goucher Poll released Monday.
The poll also shows that 65 percent of registered voters approve of Hogan’s job so far, including 52 percent of Democrats.
Gov. Larry Hogan’s approval rating remains high in the state, even as Maryland’s Democrats overwhelmingly disapprove of Trump. An earlier release from Goucher last week showed that Trump has a 64 percent disapproval rating overall in the state, with 88 percent of Democrats disapproving of the president’s job so far.
The poll shows that Hogan may be able to overcome a “Trump effect,” even as Democratic leaders in the General Assembly have tried to tie the governor to the Republican administration in Washington.
“Although there have been direct efforts to attach Governor Hogan to President Trump and the majority of Maryland voters say that their views toward President Trump will influence their vote in 2018, the governor remains largely unaffected by national politics,” said Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College. “He continues to earn high approval ratings and the majority of Maryland voters are at least leaning toward giving Governor Hogan another term in office.”
But some voters do say that their views toward Trump will influence their votes in 2018. Fifty-five percent of all voters who are “somewhat, very or extremely interested” in the upcoming election say Trump will play a role in how they cast their ballots. Thirty-one percent of that same group say Trump will influence their vote “not at all.”
About 33 percent of those polled said Hogan spends too little time addressing national politics and Trump’s policies, while 39 percent said he is spending the right amount of time. On the same question, voters said Maryland’s Democrats are spending too little time responding to national politics and Trump’s policies.
The General Assembly — where Democrats hold two-thirds of the seats — has an approval rating of 42 percent overall, with 50 percent of Democrats and 30 percent of Republicans approving.
Maryland voters also favor Hogan’s economic policies (38 percent support) over those of Maryland Democrats (27 percent).
Other state issues
The Goucher Poll also explored voters’ attitudes on several topics that are the focus of legislation this General Assembly session.
The greatest support on a range of state issues was support for paid sick leave policies. Eight-two percent of all voters say the state should pass a law that would require businesses to give paid sick time to employees, compared with just 16 percent who oppose the policies. Support was stronger for legislation that would apply to larger businesses with 50 or more employees, compared with legislation that would include businesses with fewer employees, 15 or more.
Independent congressional redistricting also continues to enjoy widespread support. According to the poll, 75 percent of voters support an independent commission to draw district lines, compared with 19 percent who would support elected officials making those decisions.
A majority of Maryland voters — 60 percent — would prioritize transportation funding for roads and highways over public transit. The same percentage support increasing the state’s minimum wage to $15.
Fifty-seven percent of voters support making the use of marijuana legal in Maryland.
About 37 percent of voters polled support a fracking ban, while 41 percent oppose it.
The poll was conducted between Feb. 18 and 21, and polled 776 Maryland residents.