We are officially in the horse race stage of the primary election, and a new poll puts Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker slightly ahead of former NAACP president Ben Jealous as the two candidates appear to be separating from the pack.
Unlike recent polls from The Sun and The Washington Post that found about 40 percent of Democratic voters were undecided on their choice, the latest survey by Gonzales Research and Media Services shows 22 percent of respondents haven’t settled on a candidate. That’s still enough to tilt the scales in a candidate’s favor, but it shows, the poll said, that the “Democratic gubernatorial primary is developing structure.”
Baker received 25 percent of support, compared with 23 percent for Jealous. Montgomery County state Sen. Richard Madaleno Jr. is next in line with 9 percent, followed by Valerie Ervin at 7 percent, former Venable LLP chairman Jim Shea at 6 percent, former Michelle Obama adviser Krish Vignarajah at 5 percent and entrepreneur Alec Ross at 2 percent.
Perennial candidate Ralph Jaffe and late entrant James Jones each received less than 1 percent.
As has been demonstrated in other polls, the areas of support for Baker and Jealous are clearly demarcated, with Baker garnering support from his home county and other areas of the D.C. suburbs, and Jealous winning Baltimore City and the surrounding counties.
But both candidates are seeing their challengers gaining support in these strongholds. In Baltimore City, Jim Shea polled at 17 percent, seven points behind the second choice, Baker. Jealous leads at 32 percent.
And in Montgomery County, Baker only holds a one-point advantage over Madaleno, 23 percent to 22 percent. Jealous trails both at 15 percent.
Whoever emerges victorious from the June 26 primary will face an uphill battle against Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, the poll found. The governor enjoys double-digit margins in all potential match-ups.
However, Hogan did not receive 50 percent of support in a potential election against Baker, “the critical polling number for any incumbent seeking reelection,” the poll said. Hogan leads 48 percent to 37 percent, with 15 percent undecided.
In a contest with Jealous, Hogan holds an advantage of 52 percent to 34 percent, with 14 percent undecided.
The Republican governor remains popular in deep-blue Maryland, with 75 percent of voters–including 67 percent of Democrats–saying they approve of the job he is doing in Annapolis. If he were to win, Hogan would be the first re-elected Republican governor since Theodore McKeldin in 1954.
From June 4 to June 10, the firm founded by veteran pollster Patrick E. Gonzales spoke with 800 registered voters who are likely to participate in the November general election.