Poll: Hogan remains popular despite 'Trump effect'

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan remains deeply popular in Democratic Maryland, and his job approval rating appears untouched by national political controversy, a new poll has found.Hogan's job approval ratings dipped in the new Goucher Poll released Monday,...

Poll: Hogan remains popular despite 'Trump effect'

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan remains deeply popular in Democratic Maryland, and his job approval rating appears untouched by national political controversy, a new poll has found.

Hogan's job approval ratings dipped in the new Goucher Poll released Monday, but pollster Mileah Kromer said the decline since September is cyclical and appears unrelated to Democrats' repeated attempts to tie Hogan to President Donald J. Trump.

"The governor remains largely unaffected by national politics," said Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher, which conducted the poll. "He continues to earn high approval ratings and the majority of Maryland voters are at least leaning toward giving Governor Hogan another term in office."

The poll found 63 percent of Marylanders approve of the job Hogan is doing, down seven percentage points from the college's last poll. Fifty-seven percent said they would either definitely re-elect him in 2018 or were leaning toward voting for him. The poll has 3.5-point margin of error.

Hogan has been under pressure from Democrats and a few public protests to take a position on Trump's actions and agenda. He has declined to do so, saying he is focused on Maryland and should not weigh in on national politics. The poll found 44 percent of people thought Hogan spent "the right amount of time" addressing national issue, and about 30 percent found he did not spend enough.

The Feb. 24 White House press briefing, normally open to all reporters with press credentials, was an exclusive event for certain outlets handpicked by the administration. 

The Feb. 24 White House press briefing, normally open to all reporters with press credentials, was an exclusive event for certain outlets handpicked by the administration. 

President Trump criticized the news media and denounced the use of anonymous sources during his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Feb. 24, 2017 (C-SPAN)

President Trump criticized the news media and denounced the use of anonymous sources during his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Feb. 24, 2017 (C-SPAN)

But the differences do not detract from Hogan's approval rating. Additionally, 62 percent of surveyed residents said the state was moving in the right direction.

Trump, by contrast, has support from 29 percent of Maryland residents.

"There's very little evidence that a 'Trump effect' is having any bearing," Kromer said. "People don't expect the governor of a state to be that involved in national politics."

Kromer said that the 7-percentage point decline from Hogan's all-time high job approval rating of 70 percent in September can be attributed to a normal decline governor's experience while the General Assembly is in session and they share the public stage with lawmakers.

President Donald Trump has been unable to expand his base of support in Maryland and remains unpopular in a state that handed him one of his largest defeats last year, according to the first poll of state voters conducted since his inauguration.

Given the 2-to-1 voter registration advantage Democrats...

President Donald Trump has been unable to expand his base of support in Maryland and remains unpopular in a state that handed him one of his largest defeats last year, according to the first poll of state voters conducted since his inauguration.

Given the 2-to-1 voter registration advantage Democrats...

The Democratic field to challenge Hogan next November is not set. Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker have said they're considering running for governor, but neither have formally launched a campaign.

Hogan is dramatically more popular among Republicans and independents than with Democrats, the poll found. Ninety-one percent of Republicans and 61 percent of independents approve of the job Hogan is doing, while just 52 percent of Democrats shared that view. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by a two-to-one margin. Independents make up the smallest group of registered voters.

The Goucher Poll also found:

•A majority of people don't believe Baltimore City is the economic engine of the state. Despite being home to several major institutions and companies and the repeated refrain by politicians that Baltimore drives the state's economy, 58 percent of state residents to don believe the city is Maryland's economic engine. "This is just a perception," Kromer said, adding that the city has "a serious image problem."

• Nearly two-thirds of residents — 60 percent — support raising the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour.

•At least 80 percent of state residents support mandating paid sick time for workers at companies with 15 employees or more. Such a proposal is currently advancing in the General Assembly.

•The vast majority of residents — 70 percent — prefer Maryland's congressional and legislative districts be drawn by an independent commission, rather than by the state's elected officials. Hogan has twice proposed legislation creating such a commission, but so far it has not advanced in the General Assembly.

•Fifty-eight percent of Maryland residents support legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Two proposals to legalize and tax the drug like alcohol will be considered by the legislature next month.

•There's clear division on how Maryland residents think the billions flowing into the state's transportation program should be spent. Fifty-eight percent said the government should focus on roads and bridges, while 35 percent say it should focus on public transit.

•Despite record funding on education, 66 percent of Maryland residents think the state funds "too little" on public schools.

ecox@baltsun.com

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