WaPo Poll: A Warning Shot for Maryland Democrats

Before Maryland’s Legislative Democrats start getting all gung ho about challenging Governor Larry Hogan’s agenda, they may want to take a second to step back and review the results of the Washington Post poll released today.

Maryland’s new Republican governor enjoys solid public support for some of his plans to curb agency spending and cut taxes, but faces strong opposition to a proposal to slow the growth of education funding, a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll finds.

Three weeks into his tenure, Marylanders have high hopes for Gov. Larry Hogan (R), an Anne Arundel County businessman who won an upset victory in the heavily Democratic state by promising fiscal restraint and a new direction after the eight-year tenure of Gov. Martin O’Malley (D).

The Post-U.Md. poll suggests that Hogan has an opportunity to make headway on several priorities that resonate with the public, including pocketbook issues and an expansion of charter schools.

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They key takeaways from the full poll results (available here) are:

  • A plurality of Marylanders now think the state is heading in the right direction;
  • Nearly 60% believe that Governor Hogan will take the state in the right direction;
  • Only 49% of Marylanders (in a deep blue state!) thing that Legislative Democrats are doing a good job;
  • 87% of Marylanders think the budget situation is a problem, with 54% saying it’s a BIG problem;
  • 68% support the across the board 2% budget cut;
  • 47% believe too much attention is paid to  Baltimore-Washington interests;
  • 71% would Never or Rarely use the Purple Line if its built

All of this in a poll whose methodology seems to be skewed towards Democratic respondents.

Not all of this is punch and pie for the Administration. It seems like the Maryland State Education Association’s false claims that education spending is being reduced is having some impact upon the poll (or, at the very least, impact on this sample). I’d be interested to see how these respondents would answer these questions if they knew that Governor Hogan was increasing K-12 education spending by over $130 million this year.

The big takeaway from this poll, however, has to do with public sentiment towards the administration and towards his policies. The public is supportive of the work that Governor Hogan has set out to do. And that means that Democrats in the General Assembly who are standing against the Governor’s policies are doing so, once again, understanding that they are opposing the will of Marylanders. I noted last week that Democrats who cross the Governor’s agenda will be doing so at their own political peril, and the latest opinion polling continues to tell us that voters are not going to tolerate Democratic obstruction of the people’s will.

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