Poll: Most Marylanders back $15 minimum wage, half oppose unspecified gender on driver’s licenses

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CNS-STATE-ADDRESS-5.jpg: Governor Larry Hogan delivers his State of the State Address in Annapolis, Maryland, on January 29, 2019. (Daniel Oyefusi/Capital News Service)

Larry Hogan remains popular across party lines in Maryland, the president is still well loathed by most and a majority voters across the state supporting setting a $15 minimum wage by the mid-2020s.

These are all findings from the latest poll by Gonzales Research and Media Services, which surveyed 817 registered voters from Feb. 22-March 1.

Several months into his second term, Gov. Larry Hogan is posting some of his highest recorded ratings, with 78 percent of voters saying they approve of his job performance. In the Baltimore metro region, which includes the city and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford and Howard counties, Hogan logged an approval rating of 80 percent.

Strong majorities from both parties think Hogan’s doing his job well, including 72 percent of Democrats and 85 percent of Republicans.

Donald Trump, meanwhile, earned a 38 percent approval mark statewide. While majorities of voters gave him a thumbs up on the Eastern Shore and in Western Maryland, only 40 percent and 21 percent from the Baltimore and D.C. metro areas, respectively, approve of his performance in year three.

On issues specific to Maryland, 60 percent of voters support a proposal approved by the House of Delegates last week requiring all Maryland businesses to pay workers a minimum of $15 per hour, scaled up from the current $10.10 an hour by 2025. Thirty-five percent oppose it. A divide is clear along party and racial lines: 79 percent of Dems support the move compared to 25 percent of Republicans. And black voters (85 percent approval) are far more enthusiastic in their support than whites (49 percent).

On another bill that would create a new “X” option for Marylanders to mark their gender as unspecified on their state driver’s license, passed last month by the Maryland State Senate, 51 percent of voters oppose the option, while 37 percent say they favor it. Opposition to the gender-neutral option is highest in rural areas, the poll says. There’s a clear split on this among voters by party, with 80 percent of Republicans opposing the “X” compared to 35 percent of Democrats.

And on the surprisingly politically heated topic of school start dates—mandated to fall after Labor Day by executive order from Hogan in 2016—56 percent of voters agreed with Hogan’s position that all public schools should be required to open after the first Monday of September. Forty percent said local school systems should get to make that call.

The results, viewable here, also offer data concerning Marylanders’ views on the Russia-Trump investigation and the direction of the state just as we’ve passed the midway point of the 2019 session in Annapolis.

The poll has a 3.5-point margin of error, according to its methodology.

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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in CityLab, Slate, Baltimore City Paper, DCist and elsewhere.
Ethan McLeod
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