The latest statewide poll of Maryland Democratic voters shows they haven’t yet coalesced behind any of the several Democratic candidates pursuing the governor’s office.
The Goucher College poll released Thursday morning found Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker with the most support—about 19 percent of the Democrats polled said they’d vote for him if the primary election were held today.
About 12 percent said they’d vote for Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. Former NAACP President Ben Jealous received about 10 percent of support from likely voters.
The poll surveyed 409 Democrats in the state from Feb. 12 to 18 to determine their level of support for the Democrats hoping to challenge Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in the 2018 general election.
However, 47 percent of those polled responded that they “don’t know” who they’ll support in the race.
“While Rushern Baker is clearly collecting the most votes right now, it’s difficult to discern who’s leading because there’s a lot of don’t knows,” said Mileah Kromer, who oversees the polling as director of the college’s Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center. “I have to acknowledge the fact that Baker, Kamenetz and Jealous are making inroads.”
Other candidates in the crowded Democratic field polled at less than 5 percent:
- Baltimore tech entrepreneur Alec Ross received 3 percent;
- state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Kensington) received 2 percent;
- Baltimore attorney James Shea received 2 percent; and
- former Michelle Obama aide Krishanti Vignarajah received 2 percent.
The numbers differed from the Gonzales Research Poll released in January, which showed Baker with 24 percent of support from likely Democratic voters while Kamenetz and Jealous were tied with 14 percent. About 33 percent of the voters were undecided.
Kromer said she believes the primary difference between Goucher’s results and the Gonzales poll is that Goucher found more voters haven’t made up their minds on which candidate to support.
As the candidates approach the June 26 primary, they’ll have to try to differentiate themselves from each other to win the support of the undecided voters, she said.
“They’re unified against Hogan, which makes sense, but increasing their name recognition will mean distinguishing themselves from each other,” Kromer said.
The Goucher poll also asked voters whether they thought favorably or unfavorably about the candidates. Results showed many of those polled don’t know the candidates:
Chart via Goucher College poll