SEABROOK – With less than two weeks before the general election, Larry Hogan looks poised to maintain his position as Maryland governor, leading the latest Gonzales poll by 18 percent over his Democratic opponent, Ben Jealous.
The current governor would become the first Republican to be elected to a second term since Theodore Roosevelt McKeldin during the 1950s, according to the recent polling data which shows that Hogan has 52 percent statewide support.
While Hogan continues to sport strong support from Maryland Republicans, 86 percent surveyed had a favorable opinion of him, Democrats continue to have positive reviews for the county native. 59 percent of Democrats polled have a positive opinion towards Hogan, and 67 percent approved the job he has done for governor.
In a statement, Hogan’s campaign said that they take the findings as a sign that Maryland voters are happy with how the governor has done his job and support his agenda for a second term.
“Every single general election poll has shown the depth and breadth of Governor Hogan’s bipartisan coalition of supporters,” Communications Director Scott Sloofman said. “It goes to show that Governor Hogan’s results-oriented focus on Maryland is what votes are yearning for in this era of political division.”
Both Hogan and Jealous met on Oct. 12 for the second time during a Maryland Municipal League luncheon in Annapolis, where they spoke on their vision for the state’s future.
However, the event was marred by an incident by campaign officials for both candidates, according to The Washington Post. Hogan plans to meet voters in a Get Out the Vote rally in Salisbury on Oct. 18.
The poll finds that Jealous, a former NAACP president, only leads in one county, Prince George’s, and has a stronghold in Baltimore City. On a conference call on Oct. 11, Jealous’ campaign refuted the findings of the final Gonzales poll and said that Jealous has beaten out polls before.
During the Democratic Primary, the June poll had Jealous behind Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, III by two percent. Jealous ended up winning with over 10 percent of the overall vote. Campaign officials believe they have enough support and many Democrats who support Hogan will eventually return back to the party to support Jealous.
“There are still voters being introduced to Ben Jealous, even now,” Campaign Official David Sloan said. “And towards election day, when the electorate starts to pay attention and begin to understand the choice that they have, those Democrats will come home.”
Instead, the campaign attempted to shift the focus on increase of absentee ballot requests for this year’s midterm elections compared to 2014. According to the Maryland State Board of Elections, there are 70,374 more absentee requests for this election, a 95.7 percent growth, and more than half of those (45,543) are Democratic voters. 60 percent of the requests were from female voters, Maryland Democratic Party chair Kathleen Matthews said.
“Women voters, new voters, are driving the surge in absentee ballot requests, and Marylanders who did not vote in 2014 who are eager for Ben’s bold, courageous vision for Maryland,” Kathleen Matthews said.
The Jealous campaign sees the additional ballots as new voters for Jealous campaign as part of the “Blue Wave” Democrats are pushing throughout the country against Republicans and President Donald Trump. If their goal of over a million votes come true, the campaign believes Jealous will earn a stunning victory for the governorship.
“The huge surge in Democrats requesting absentee ballots matches the excitement I see on the campaign trail every day,” Jealous said. “Voters are sick and tired of the blame games and lack of responsibility taken by current leadership for the unaffordable status quo. They want Maryland to get back to delivering on big achievements, whether that’s leading the nation in public education or making sure we all have access to affordable and high-quality healthcare.”