One-third of Marylanders report being worse off financially than a year ago, and more than half say recent price increases have contributed to their financial hardship, according to a new poll by Goucher College.
Meanwhile, Gov. Larry Hogan’s approval rating has held solid while President Joe Biden’s approval rating among Marylanders has taken a hit compared to this time last year.
Goucher on Monday released the results of its poll of 635 Maryland adults, which found that just over half of residents, 52%, hold a mostly positive view of Maryland’s current economic situation while 41% hold a mostly negative view.
More than half of Marylanders, 56%, said they have experienced financial hardship as a result of recent price increases, including 26% who say they faced minor hardship and 30% who say they faced major hardship. Meanwhile, 43% of residents said they have not been impacted by the price increases.
When comparing their current financial situation to where they were a year ago, 33% said they were worse off, 19% said they were on better footing, and 47% said their financial situation was about the same.
“Marylanders are definitely feeling an economic pinch,” Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Center for Politics at Goucher College, said in a statement.
“Price increases have yet to dampen views of the state’s broader economic situation—a majority continue to say it’s mostly positive, the same as in October though down somewhat from this time last year,” Kromer added.
Marylanders were equally divided on how to spend the state’s budgetary surplus, which has grown to $7.5 billion. Some lawmakers and other Maryland officials have called to suspend the gas tax amid rising gas prices.
While 50% of residents want the state government to use the surplus to increase funding for public services, 49% prefer it be used for tax cuts.
Three out of five Marylanders support the legalization of recreational cannabis. Monday’s poll showed 62% of residents support legalizing recreational pot, up slightly from 60% in October 2021 but still down from 67% in March 2021.
Last month, the Maryland House of Delegates passed a bill to put the question of cannabis legalization on the 2022 general election ballot. The measure still needs to pass the Maryland Senate before voters will be able to weigh in on the issue on their ballots.
Hogan continues to have the support of the majority of Marylanders. Of the poll’s respondents, 65% approve of his job performance as governor, 25% disapprove, and 8% said they don’t know. Those figures are on par with his ratings in March 2021.
Attitudes toward Biden are more divided, and his approval rating has taken a significant hit since a year ago.
Of the Marylanders who were polled, 48% of residents approve of the job Biden is doing as president, while 47% disapprove.
A year ago, Biden had a 62% approval rating from Marylanders and 31% disapproval.
While Maryland Republicans’ views of Biden’s job performance have remained unchanged over the past year (16% approval in Monday’s poll versus 17% in the March 2021 poll), the president’s approval rating took a large hit among Democrats and independents.
In March 2021, 86% of Democrats and 63% of independents approved of Biden’s job as president. In the new poll, that approval dipped to 68% among Democrats and 34% among independents in Maryland.
Ideas of which issues the state government should prioritize were varied among Marylanders. One-quarter of residents said crime and public safety should be prioritized, followed by education at 17%, economic issues and jobs at 14%, and health care at 11%.
More than half of Marylanders, 55%, said the state is heading in the right direction, while 32% said it was on the wrong track.
Goucher College surveyed 635 Maryland adults, including 593 self-identified registered voters, by phone from March 1-6.
For the sample size of 635 Maryland adults, there is a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.
For the sample size of 593 Maryland voters, there is a margin of error of plus or minus 4.0 percentage points.