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O'Malley Would Beat Ehrlich, If the Two Ran Next Year, Poll Says

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

When it comes to gubernatorial politics in Maryland, not a whole lot has changed in the past three years.

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That, at least, is the conclusion of a poll out this week that shows Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) beating former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), 49 percent to 38 percent, in a hypothetical 2010 matchup.

"Ehrlich appears to be about where he was three years ago when he left office: well-enough liked but unable to get much beyond his base," says the poll from Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies of Annapolis.

In the 2006 election, when O'Malley was the challenger and Ehrlich the incumbent, O'Malley won by 6.5 percentage points.

The poll found that 42 percent of voters in the heavily Democratic state view Ehrlich favorably, and 26 percent have an unfavorable impression. Twenty-six percent say they are neutral.

O'Malley's favorability numbers are pretty similar. Forty-seven percent say they have a favorable view, 28 percent see him unfavorably and 23 percent are neutral.

O'Malley's job-approval numbers are virtually unchanged from the Gonzales poll in January: 48 percent say they approve of the job he's doing, 27 percent disapprove and 15 percent say they have no opinion.

The poll also suggested that Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), who is up for reelection next year, remains the state's most popular politician. Statewide, 64 percent of voters say they have a favorable opinion of her, compared with 23 percent with an unfavorable view. Twelve percent are neutral.

The Gonzales poll of 833 Maryland registered voters was conducted Sept. 8-17 and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

-- JOHN WAGNER


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