WaPo poll: O'Malley has big lead over Ehrlich in Maryland governor's race
Incumbent Gov. Martin O'Malley has built a substantial lead over former governor Bob Ehrlich in the Maryland governor's race, according to a poll released Tuesday night by the Washington Post.
The poll shows O'Malley leading Ehrlich 52 percent to 41 percent among likely voters. It has a margin of error of +/- 4 points among likely voters.
The lead is surprising and goes against other recent polls showing a somewhat tighter race. The Post’s first poll from this election cycle — conducted in early May — showed the pair tied among likely voters, with each drawing 47 percent of the vote. At the time, O’Malley had an eight-point lead among registered voters.
Ehrlich spokesman Andy Barth said the poll wasn't an accurate portrayal of the race.
"They're very different from our numbers," Barth said, while declining to elaborate on the internal polling. He did say the Post poll oversampled Democratic voters.
The O'Malley camp wasn't overly valedictory in their statement either.
"Maryland families know Governor O’Malley is on their side, and he’s working every day to move our state forward," O'Malley spokesman Mark Giangreco said in a statement. "There have been and will be many polls, but one consistent theme is that voters are hearing Governor O’Malley’s message and he’s well positioned to win in November.”
Overall, things look gloomy for the Republican. He has held on to support among his own party, and is winning most of the state's independent voters. However, Democrats outnumber Republicans 2:1 in the Free State, and O'Malley is holding onto voters in his own party.
O'Malley ads attacking Ehrlich's credibility have apparently made an impression on the electorate: only 27 percent see the Republican as "honest and trustworthy," compared to 40 percent who see O'Malley that way.
If Ehrlich is (really) desperate for bright spots, he could look at an October 2006 Post poll that slightly overestimated O'Malley's lead in that race, showing him with a 10 percentage point advantage. O'Malley ended up taking the race with 53 percent of the vote to Ehrlich's 46 percent.
The state's economy remains the top issue for voters, followed by public education, taxes and crime.
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