New Poll: Afzali in tie with Gardner in Frederick County
Frederick County Delegate Kathy Afzali is in a statistical tie with Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner in a potential head-to-head matchup in next year’s General Election.
In polling obtained by Red Maryland, Gardner leads Afzali by 0.6%; 43.4 % for Gardner, and 42.8% for Afzali. In another hypothetical matchup, Gardner leads Frederick County Councilman Kirby Delauter by over 8 points; 47.7% for Gardner as opposed to 39.4% for Delauter.
A key passage from the polling memo, which was written by pollster Targeted Creative Communications, notes that
These political dynamics stack up in the two candidates tested for County Executive rather dramatically.
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Kathy Afzali is statistically tied with Jan Gardner, while Kirby Delauter lags by 8 points. This spread is linked to some degree to the above mentioned political environment. Afzali gets all of the benefits of being a Republican and Delauter does not solidify the Republican base to some degree because of cross pressures on the development issue. These voters actually cross over away from the GOP to support Gardner.
This dynamic is an echo of some of Blaine Young’s polling problems in 2014. We did not have questions to test to see if Delauter has the same intensity of the problem as Young had. But it is clearly a critical factor any campaign on his behalf would have to grapple with.
The poll did not ask voters about any head-to-head questions about former Frederick County Budget Officer Regina Williams, who is also running for County Executive.
The poll also did approval ratings among Frederick County voters for President Donald Trump and Governor Larry Hogan. President Trump is above water in Frederick County, with a 48.1% approval rating but a 45.8% disapproval rating. Meanwhile, Governor Hogan is absolutely crushing it in Frederick County, with 66.3% of voters approving of his job performance, and only 19.5% disapproval.
Another key passage from the polling memo states:
Most importantly, Hogan is in tremendous shape at 66% compared to his 63% vote on Election Day in 2014. Starting off better than where he finished means he’s going to continue to be good news for the GOP ticket in Frederick County in this election. Importantly related to that, he helps ensure the County’s desire to vote Republican is going to again have a strong benefit for the ticket.
Trump’s numbers are not dissimilar to other places. He is polarizing but not problematic. He is strong enough that no “Stop Trump: vote Democrat” will matter outside of encouraging Democrat GOTV operations. Trump’s numbers among Republicans remain extraordinarily high, but not as high as Hogan’s.
The full poll as obtained by Red Maryland is below.