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Eye on Annapolis

The Daily Record's Maryland state government blog

Jealous: Goucher Poll highlights path to victory

Ben Jealous, shown campaigning earlier this year, is proposing a check-off box that will allow Maryland taxpayers to contribute money to help teachers defray their personal costs of providing supplies to students. (Kenneth K. Lam/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

Ben Jealous, shown campaigning earlier this year. (Kenneth K. Lam/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

Maryland’s Democratic candidate for governor said Wednesday that a recent poll showing Gov. Larry Hogan with a 22-point lead isn’t all doom and gloom for the challenger.

“The Goucher Poll doesn’t change our path to victory — if anything it explains it,” Kevin Harris, senior adviser to the Jealous campaign, said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “It shows that public pollsters, just as they did in 2014 when they had Larry Hogan down by 17 points in October, continue to underestimate voter turnout dynamics. It shows more than a third of the electorate has yet to make up their minds, showing that we have tremendous room for growth before any of our advertising spending has taken place. It shows our message is the winning message, with voters looking for change rooted in the bold progressive planks of Ben’s vision. In the next seven weeks, we will win over the voters we need for victory by communicating that winning message through Election Day.”

The poll is the latest snapshot of the campaign as it stands today, seven weeks from the election.

The response from the Jealous campaign highlights a number of positives at a time when the Democratic challenger continues to trail in polling, including his own, and in campaign cash.

Jim Barnett, Hogan’s campaign manager, called Jealous’ view of the poll “fuzzy math.”

Barnett noted that the poll assumes that 61 percent of the voters who come to the polls in November will be Democratic — higher than the 57.3 percent in 2006 that was the biggest in 20 years.

Additionally, Barnett said Hogan advisers estimate that even if all undecided voters (9 percent in the poll), and all third-party candidate votes (about 2 percent) were moved to Jealous, Democrats would still need to make up 71 percent of the voters who come out on Nov. 6.

“In short, it seems Jealous is relying on the same crowd to calculate his path to victory as he uses to calculate the cost of his policy ideas, because none of it adds up,” said Barnett in an email.

The Goucher Poll does show that voters appear to like a lot of the individual programs Jealous has championed during the campaign. The poll also shows that so far, voters believe Hogan would do a better job on many important issues, such as the economy, education and health care.

Mileah Kromer, the director of the Goucher Poll, and other pundits say it is likely that Jealous’ current showing is the result of weathering an incessant onslaught of advertising from the Republican Governor’s Association and Hogan since June. Jealous this week was able to run his first television ads of the general election campaign, spending about $110,000 on Baltimore broadcast stations in the week before the debate with Hogan.

The Republican governor alone has spent more than $2 million on internet, broadcast and cable advertising.

The 2014 poll apparently referenced by the Jealous campaign was conducted by CBS-New York Times – YouGov. It was an online poll that drew criticism for its methodology. A poll by the same group three weeks later showed Hogan trailing by 13 points.

Todd Eberly, a political science professor at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, noted that while Brown was favored to win “no Maryland pollster saw a 17-point lead.”

Real Clear Politics, which tracked polls in the race, labeled Maryland a toss-up state in 2014.

Two polls conducted in the waning days of the 2014 campaign by firms that have previously worked in Maryland painted a different story from the one cited by the Jealous campaign. One survey, paid for by the Maryland Republican Party, showed the Brown leading by 2 points — well within the margin of error.

A second one, paid for by Hogan’s campaign less than a week before the campaign, showed Hogan leading Brown by 5 points.

Hogan won his 2014 contest by 4.7 points over Brown.

Currently, Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball blog and Daily Kos, a left-leaning politics website, In August both changed their outlooks on the Maryland governor’s race from leans to likely to go Republican.


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