Gov. Larry Hogan continues to ride high on surging job approval numbers.
A poll released Thursday by Annapolis-based Gonzales Research & Media Services reported that 74 percent of the survey of 823 registered voters said they approved of the job being done by the first-term Republican governor. Nearly 15 precent of those surveyed said they disapproved of Hogan’s performance and 11 percent gave no answer.
The survey conducted in mid-December has a margin of error of 3.5 percent and represents a four point increase for Hogan compared to a March poll conducted by Gonzales.
“For a Republican in Maryland to have these kind of numbers two years into his term is very impressive,” said Patrick Gonzales, director of the poll.
Republicans and Independent voters represent the strongest support for Hogan at 86 and 81 percent respectively while 66 percent of Democrats surveyed approved of his performance.
“I’m very confident that if the election were held tomorrow, Governor Hogan would be re-elected,” Gonzales said. “But I’ve been in the business a long time and the election is 22 months away. A lot can happen in 22 months. The governor’s high approval numbers have endured for two years. He just needs to make sure they endure for another two years.”
The results of the Gonzales poll are within the margin of error of an internal poll conducted by Hogan late last year. That poll, obtained by The Daily Record, reported a 76 percent job approval rating.
No appetite for sports gaming
Maryland’s sixth casino, MGM National Harbor, opened last month but Marylanders apparently aren’t interested in seeing further expansions of legal gaming.
More than 64 percent of those surveyed said they oppose legalizing betting on sporting events. Included in that opposition is more than 50 percent of those surveyed who said they strongly opposed gambling on sporting events.
“What I see in these numbers is that there is no appetite in Maryland for betting on sporting events,” Gonzales said.
Currently, Delaware is the only state neighboring Maryland that allows gambling on sports. A 2014 New Jersey law has yet to be implemented because of legal challenges.
Four in 10 touched by heroin epidemic
The poll also found that nearly four in 10 people surveyed said that the heroin/opiate epidemic had a harmful effect on someone they know.
“More than 41 percent of Marylanders say they know someone who has been harmed by heroin. Typically that means they know someone who has overdosed and died,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales said the poll question was an attempt to determine the reach of a public health issue.
“This is not an isolated, urban issue,” Gonzales said. “Perhaps now those that can do something about it will take notice and start taking action.”