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Poll: two-thirds majority approve of Hogan, see Md. moving in right direction

More than two-thirds of Marylanders surveyed in a new poll say they approve of the job Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is doing and a majority say the state is moving in the right direction.

The results are part of poll of 819 registered voters who vote regularly that was released Tuesday morning by Annapolis-based Gonzales Research and Marketing Strategies.

Of those surveyed, 67 percent said they approved of Hogan’s work since he was sworn in a year ago compared to 19 percent who said they disapproved.

Hogan’s approval numbers are better than both Democratic former two-term Gov. Martin O’Malley who hit 58 percent in 2011, and Republican former one-term Gov. Robert Ehrlich who polled at 57 percent in August 2003. Roughly a third of those surveyed in 2011 and 2003 said they disapproved of the jobs done by O’Malley and Ehrlich respectively.

“These numbers are significant when you have a Republican governor running 10 points ahead of his Republican predecessor and nine points ahead of his Democratic predecessor — that’s an accomplishment” said Patrick Gonzales, who conducted the poll. “This has got to be in someway related to the way he has comported himself over the last nine months both in government and with his personal health issues. There’s just no political justification in my mind that almost 50 percent of Democrats approve of the job he is doing.”

In addition to high approval number from nearly half of all Maryland Democrats, nearly 80 percent of independents give Hogan high marks.

Gonzales said Hogan’s low disapproval numbers may in some way represent the fact that those who say they believe Maryland is on the wrong track are not laying the blame at Hogan’s feet — at least for now.

Of those surveyed, about 60 percent said Maryland was on the right track compared to 33 percent who said it was on the wrong track.

For now, issues such as the governor’s cancelation of the Red Line lightrail project on Baltimore and refusing to release $68 million in supplemental education funds do not appear to have had a negative effect on how the public sees Hogan.

“He’s had a pretty even year,” Gonzales said. “He has a way of expressing his opinions in a way that you get the sense that he means business but he’s not abrasive.”

And while some Republicans and Democrats concern themselves with what these early numbers mean for their respective parties and the 2018 election, Gonzales said it’s too early to project.

“We all tend to get caught up in the hype,” Gonzales said. “What it all comes down to is that it’s all in Hogan’s hands and how he handles himself.”