Photo by Joe Andrucyk, via Wikimedia Commons

The newest Goucher Poll reaffirms what we’ve learned from surveys over the last 12 months: Gov. Larry Hogan is sitting pretty in terms of public approval.

An impressive 62 percent of Maryland voters approve of Hogan’s performance as governor, according to a poll conducted this month. Among Democrats, who dominate the state’s ranks of registered voters, 59 percent approve of the job he’s doing.

The mark is one point lower than the rating Hogan logged in the February Goucher Poll, and a more drastic eight-point drop from his 70 percent approval rating in the same poll last fall. A July poll from D.C.-based firm Morning Consult pegged his approval rating at 68 percent – the second highest in the country behind Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, also a Republican governing a blue state. The same polling firm tabbed Hogan’s approval at 73 percent mark in April.

Despite the small slide, Hogan still has the thumbs up from about three-fifths of the state’s voters heading into a re-election year. He’s managed that, in part, by quietly keeping his distance from his more conservative or extreme colleagues, including President Donald Trump. When the president has inflammatorily pushed for policy changes targeting undocumented immigrants, or as members of Congress voted unsuccessfully to repeal Obamacare, Hogan either remained mum or pushed back with indirect statements to media outlets.

It appears to be working for Marylanders, with 43 percent saying in this month’s Goucher Poll that he’s distanced himself “just the right amount” from Trump. Forty-seven percent of state voters consider their Republican governor to be a moderate, compared to 31 percent who view him as a conservative.

As for his chances in 2018, 51 percent of voters said they would re-elect Hogan, while 42 percent said they’re leaning toward or would definitely vote for another candidate. Eight Democrats, including two county executives, a former NAACP president and Michelle Obama’s former policy adviser, are competing in the June 2018 primary to challenge Hogan for his seat in the fall.

Some other findings from this month’s poll: 55 percent of voters think Maryland is “headed in the right direction,” down 10 points from one year ago; 57 percent hold a positive view of the economic state of the state; an abysmal 25 percent of Marylanders approve of Trump’s job as president, down four points from February; and an even more abysmal 8 percent of voters approve of the job Congress is doing.

Results from the newest Goucher Poll last week revealed black and white Marylanders alike agree race relations are souring, though they’re pretty divided in their perceptions of what racial discrimination looks like at the community level.

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...