The mixed verdict on two of the governor’s leading priorities comes at a key juncture in the 90-day legislative session for O’Malley (D), who is trying to cement his progressive legacy in Maryland as he eyes a possible run for national office in 2016.
Across the state, fully 85 percent back the governor’s licensing plan — the centerpiece of a broader gun-control bill — and 73 percent do so “strongly,” according to the poll.
On Tuesday, the state Senate opened what promises to be several days of contentious debate on the legislation, which would also ban high-capacity ammunition clips and assault weapons — provisions that also enjoy broad support in the Post poll.
Republicans blasted O’Malley’s licensing plan, saying it would run roughshod over the Second Amendment and make it costly to express a constitutional right.
Sen. Allan H. Kittleman (R-Howard) questioned how O’Malley could mandate fingerprinting to buy a gun when he opposes requiring voters to bring photo identification to the polls.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Brian E. Frosh (D-Montgomery) snapped back at Kittleman that when a voter pulls the lever in a ballot booth, “nobody on the other end of the machine is going to fall over dead.”
Action on several other O’Malley agenda items, including his proposed repeal of the state’s death penalty, is expected in coming weeks.
Sixty percent of adults in the poll say Maryland law should allow for the death penalty; 36 percent support replacing it with life in prison without the possibility of parole, as O’Malley advocates.
In the poll, 58 percent say they support another O’Malley agenda item: legislation to advance renewable energy in the state by providing incentives to build an offshore wind farm.
But the survey also underscores the challenges the governor will face if he chooses to champion a transportation funding bill in the closing weeks of the session, as he has suggested he would like to.
While many in the Washington region say traffic congestion is a major problem, barely a quarter of Marylanders statewide support any plan to do something about it that involves raising taxes
Ten weeks after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., Marylanders are more supportive of stricter gun-control measures than Americans overall. They also tilt in favor of measures beyond what O’Malley and the legislature have seemed willing to do, such as putting an armed guard in every school in the state, a proposal backed nationally by the National Rifle Association.
Concerns about gun violence and crime dwarf economic concerns in Prince George’s County, where six teenage students and a college senior have died this school year in shootings, as well as in Baltimore, which has recorded 23 shooting homicides since January. Residents in both districts overwhelmingly back stricter gun laws, as do those in Montgomery County, even as gun violence is less widely perceived to be a problem there.