Photo of the Maryland Governor’s Mansion, via Flickr user Maryland GovPics

Three Democratic candidates and two Republican candidates running to be Maryland’s next governor are in statistical dead-heats for their parties’ respective nominations, but a plurality of both parties’ voters remain undecided or say they could change their mind about their preferred candidate by the time they cast their ballot.

In the Democratic race for governor, candidates Peter Franchot, Wes Moore, and Tom Perez are running neck and neck at the front of the crowded Democratic field. Franchot has the support of 16% of Democratic voters, while Moore and Perez each have 14% support.

The remaining Democratic gubernatorial candidates have each garnered less than 10% support.

With three weeks until the July 19 primary election and some voters already beginning to vote by mail, a plurality of Democratic voters – 35% of the poll respondents – are still undecided.

Of the Democratic voters who did select a candidate to support, one third said they are set on their choice while the other approximately two-thirds said they “could change their mind.”

“Our poll was conducted one month out from the primary election,” Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Center for Politics at Goucher College, said in a statement. “The three frontrunners—Franchot, Moore, and Perez—each have the campaign funds and endorsements to compete for the voters of a largely undecided and malleable Democratic primary electorate. Still, even with the investments of their significant resources, it’s unclear how much attention the average voter will pay to the mid-July primary.”

In the Republican race for governor, candidates Dan Cox and Kelly Schulz are also statistically close in support among their party’s voters – 25% and 22%, respectively.

But like Democrats, a plurality of Republican voters, 44%, are undecided. Among the voters who expressed a preferred candidate, 47% said they could change their mind about whom they are voting for.

If a Republican candidate hopes to win the governor’s race, they will need the support of about a quarter of Democratic voters in the general election, Kromer said.

Goucher College informed poll respondents that President Donald Trump has endorsed Cox and that Gov. Larry Hogan has endorsed Schulz in the Republican primary.

When asked whether they would consider voting for Schulz or Cox in the general election later this year, 9% said they would consider voting for Cox while 84% said they would not consider voting for him; and 23% said they would consider voting for Schulz, 49% said they would not consider voting for her, and 11% volunteered “it depends.”

“Our polling suggests that the Republican primary race is competitive between Cox and Schulz, but that Schulz is in the best position to be competitive against the Democratic nominee in the general election,” Kromer said.

The Goucher Poll surveyed 502 registered Democrats and 507 registered Republicans living in Maryland by phone from June 15-19.

For a sample size of 501 Democrats and 508 Republicans, there is a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

For a sample size of 403 Democratic likely voters and 414 Republican likely voters, there is a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points and plus or minus 4.8 percentage points, respectively.

The poll was conducted in partnership with The Baltimore Banner and WYPR.

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Marcus Dieterle

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at marcus@baltimorefishbowl.com...