• Spartan Considerations

A Splinter In Your Mind

A survey of Maryland voters that included 2022 gubernatorial match-ups was conducted & released a few weeks before Election Day. At the time, it was reported upon by Maryland Matters: https://www.marylandmatters.org/2020/10/07/forget-the-2020-election-here-are-some-early-poll-results-on-2022/.

Something about the survey troubled me but I, like many of you, was focused on November 2020.

Looking at the reported margin of error for the Democratic sub-sample, the sample size of Ds was slightly under 400 voters (just registered or likely voters and if the latter - based on what screening criteria? the story does not indicate). Anyway, that N is reasonably healthy. Based on who fielded it, I suspect the survey was conducted online using an automated technology platform as opposed to live interviewers. But that pertinent study design information was not included in the article either.

So what is my problem with the survey? The ballot test (assuming it is an initial/cold ballot measure) seems...off.

You are telling me that Ben Jealous, who ran one of the most forgettable statewide campaigns in recent memory, still leads the field of prospective Democratic candidates for Governor? Granted, at 15% overall he is not trouncing anyone. However, by the same logic regarding name identification, why is Peter "P-Dubs" Franchot only at 9%? Unless something very unusual is transpiring "out there," there is no way the Comptroller - statewide - is in single digits, especially with only 28% undecided at this juncture (with another 6% indicating that they will not vote).

PG County Exec Angela Alsobrooks at 13%? I can see that. She must have a decent plurality in PG County and is probably in the top 3 in Montgomery County. But Congressman Brown at 10%,? Try 5%. His 2014 gov bid could be charitably described as unremarkable (acknowledging he ran in a bad cycle). I can't imagine he enjoys any residual support outside of his congressional district. Granted, let's say that Brown currently enjoys the support of 1/3rd of the Democratic voters in his CD (MD - 4) in terms of vote intention for a gubernatorial campaign...does anyone really want to see Brown run for Governor in '24?

[Editor's note: thoughts on Trone redacted. This is a family publication].

Baltimore County Exec John "Johnny O" Olszewski, Jr. at 5%? Credible yet inauspicious. While positioned differently, I strongly suspect that there is some overlap between Franchot and Johnny O voters - especially in Baltimore County. The fact that this survey has them at a low combined 14% is odd. Where are those voters? Are they now undecideds or currently Alsobrooks, Brown, and/or Trone voters? It would have been nice to see the "second choice" ballot test.

I don't think that DNC Chair Tom Perez (3%), even with his national profile (or perhaps because of it) will end up with the Democratic nomination for Governor. Among the 2% candidates, I think former Obama Secretary of Education John King has significantly more upside than Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart "What are you doing here?" Pittman.

Frankly, the survey should have tested the candidate who stands at the top of my ballot for Governor, State Senator Mary Washington.

The splinter thus removed, it is time to move forward...as in Forward Maryland with our world-famous year-in-review podcast coming up soon!

In solidarity.

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