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Best Week, Worst Week: Morgan State continues Ivy League inroads; Md. Democrats hit with sobering gubernatorial news

best-worst-042818An affiliation with an Ivy League business school could spell dividends in the future for Morgan State University while poll numbers released this week show the future for Maryland Democrats got a wake-up call in poll numbers released this week for the upcoming gubernatorial election.

Higher education writer Tim Curtis reported Monday Morgan State ventured into uncharted territory for historically black colleges and universities this with the announcement of a collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School that President David Wilson says could lead to a closer connection with Ivy League schools.

Wilson believes Morgan’s affiliation with one of the country’s top-ranked business schools will include opportunities for the Baltimore university to participate in Wharton conferences and research, opportunities that could make Morgan students more in-demand for Maryland businesses. Several students currently participate in a summer undergraduate minority research program and Wilson hopes more students participate through the partnership. He also hopes to send some Morgan post-doctoral fellows to Wharton.

Wilson believes the collaboration between the two schools will help bring together more partnerships between the Ivy League schools and historically black schools. The Wharton collaboration follows Morgan’s developing partnership with Dartmouth College and Wilson’s lectures at Harvard, which he will continue this summer.

As Morgan State’s future got a little brighter this week, thunderheads were rumbling in a distant overture for Maryland Democrats as the party seeks to supplant Republican Larry Hogan as governor later this year.

Government affairs writer Bryan P. Sears reported Tuesday that Hogan, a first-term GOP governor, continues to ride high in the polls where it comes to his job approval rating and is outpacing Democrats in head-to-head challenges, according to a new poll released by Goucher College.

Sears reported the poll showed Hogan continuing to enjoy some of the best job approval ratings of any state leader in the nation, having 69 percent of those people surveyed say they approve or strongly approve of Hogan’s performance coming out of the 2018 General Assembly session.  That’s  an eight-point bump from Goucher’s February poll and nearly identical to Hogan’s best approval rating — 70 percent in September 2016.

But what could be more troubling for Democrats in the months leading up to the November gubernatorial election is that Hogan also enjoys double-digit leads in head-to-head contests against each of the Democrat candidates competing in its June primary.

Voters also said they see Hogan as superior to Democrats when it comes to handling issues such as the state budget, transportation and infrastructure, economic development, taxes and crime and criminal justice issues. Poll administrators said those issues and views that Hogan is a moderate are “central to his identity as governor” and his campaign to become the first two-term Republican governor in the state since Theodore McKeldin. Those surveyed, however, credited Democrats with having the edge on handling the environment and education. Both Hogan and Democrats are seen as equally strong on handling issues related to gun violence, according to the poll.