Still via Gov. Larry Hogan/Facebook

Gov. Larry Hogan is sitting pretty in terms of voter approval, though a gap exists between that mark of his job performance and the share of voters who are prepared to elect him to a second term, according to the newest Goucher Poll.

Sixty-one percent of Maryland adults say they approve of Hogan’s job as governor, per a survey of 800 people conducted last week by the college’s Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center. Nineteen percent said they don’t know about his job performance, and 18 percent said they disapprove.

And yet, re-election remains statistically an unsure thing for the GOP incumbent. Forty-seven percent of Marylanders say they’re “leaning toward or will definitely vote” for Hogan in this November’s election, assuming he files his paperwork to run by the set deadline of Feb. 27. A very close 43 percent say they’re “leaning toward or will definitely vote” for someone else.

That finding aligns with a separate poll conducted last fall by Mason-Dixon Polling, which found Hogan didn’t secure at least 50 percent of votes in scenarios where he was placed toe-to-toe with any of his Democratic challengers.

Eight Democrats are running in the Democratic primary this June to try to unseat Hogan. The winner will face off with him in the general election on Nov. 6.

The new Goucher Poll also addressed Hogan’s political identity. Forty-six percent of Marylanders think he’s a moderate, compared to 29 percent who view him as a conservative.

As for his relationship with President Donald Trump, 47 percent say he has hit the sweet spot for distancing himself from the poorly supported president, a four-point jump from the last Goucher Poll released in September 2017. Just over a fifth percent say he’s distanced himself too little, down from 31 percent in the fall.

That’s not necessarily the biggest factor in play, though. Three in five voters said they their views toward the president would have little or no influence on their vote this November.

They survey drew on some Marylanders’ optimism for the future. Sixty-two percent say they think the state is headed in the right direction, up from 55 percent five months ago. Additionally, 60 percent said they hold a “mostly positive” view of the state’s economy, compared to 31 percent whose economic perceptions are “mostly negative.”

Most of those surveyed are registered voters. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percent.

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...