Goucher Poll Releases Second Round of Inaugural Results

The results of the inaugural Goucher Poll are in. The poll, conducted October 21-25, asked Maryland residents for their perspectives regarding the favorability ratings of President Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, and Martin O’Malley; right track/wrong direction of the nation; personal financial situation; and perceptions of state spending and taxation.

The poll surveyed a dual-frame (landlines and cell phones) random sample of 667 Maryland residents and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.79 percentage points. The sample is of all Maryland residents and does not restrict by registered or likely voters.

Highlights of the results are included below. Additional crosstabs of the survey results are available upon request, as are word clouds of one-word descriptions of Obama, Romney, and O’Malley. Mileah Kromer, the director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center, is available for comment regardless of the weather. She can be reached at mileah.kromer@goucher.edu or 724-840-0990.

Favorability Ratings

Sixty percent of Marylanders have a favorable view of President Barack Obama, while 32 percent have an unfavorable view. Former Massachusetts governor and current presidential candidate Mitt Romney was not viewed as favorably, with 64 percent of citizens expressing an unfavorable view and 27 percent expressing a favorable view.

Citizens were slightly more divided on their opinions toward current Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, with 36 percent of Marylanders having an unfavorable view and 45 percent having a favorable view. Eighteen percent of Marylanders indicated they “don’t know” whether they have a favorable or unfavorable view of the governor.

The Goucher Poll also asked citizens to describe Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, and Martin O’Malley using only one word.

The most common words to describe President Obama are “honest,” “intelligent,” “determined,” “leader,” and “awesome.” The most common words used to describe Mitt Romney are “liar,” “dishonest,” “untrustworthy,” “flip-flopper,” and “businessman.”

“The most common words used to describe Barack Obama and Mitt Romney reflect the partisan climate in the state and the rhetoric from the campaigns,” said Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center. “President Obama has worked during campaign stops, advertisements, and the debates to cast doubts on the truthfulness of Romney’s campaign promises. And it appears that the work is paying off, at least here in Maryland.”

When asked to describe Martin O’Malley, citizens label him as “ambitious,” “liberal,” “dishonest,” “dedicated,” and “politician.”

“It is very telling that ‘ambitious’ was the most frequent word used to describe Martin O’Malley,” said Kromer. “With his now-regular appearances on national political news shows and his primetime speaking spot at the DNC, it is no secret that Governor O’Malley has national political aspirations.”

Direction of Country/Personal Financial Situation

Fifty-six percent of residents think that things in the nation are headed in the right direction, while 40 percent think things have gotten off on the wrong track.

When asked about their current financial situations, 41 percent say they are about the same as they were a year ago; 34 percent say they are better; and 24 percent say they are worse.

Looking ahead a year from now, half of residents expects their financial situations to get better. Eleven percent think their financial situation will get worse, while 31 percent expect things to stay about the same.

State Spending and Taxes

Respondents were asked whether they thought the state spends “too little,” “too much,” or “about the right about” on certain priorities.

Percent saying state is spending “too little” on:

  • Public schools (65)
  • 
Healthcare (44)
  • Community colleges (44)
  • Environment and natural resources (41)
  • Public safety (38)
  • Four-year colleges and universities (38)
  • Transportation (33)

Marylanders were also asked about how much different groups were paying in state taxes. Only 5 percent of Maryland residents said that middle-income people were paying “too little,” while 60 percent said that higher-income people were paying “too little.”

Percent saying group is paying “too little” in state taxes:

  • Large businesses and corporations (65)
  • Higher-income people (60)
  • Lower-income people (17)
Small businesses (7)
  • Middle-income people (5)

About the Goucher Poll

The Goucher Poll is conducted under the auspices of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center, which is housed in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Goucher College. Directed by Mileah Kromer, Ph.D., the Goucher Poll conducts surveys on public policy, economic, and social issues in Maryland.

Goucher College supports the Goucher Poll as part of its mission to instill in its students a sense of community where discourse is valued and practiced. The Goucher Poll is fully funded by the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center endowment and does not take additional funding from outside sources.

The Goucher Poll seeks to improve public discourse in the state by providing neutral and nonbiased information on citizen perceptions and opinions. The data collected by the Goucher Poll is used to support faculty and student research.

Survey Methodology

To ensure all Maryland citizens are represented, the Goucher Poll is conducted using random digit dialing (RDD) of a stratified random sample using landline and cellular telephone numbers. The sample of telephone numbers for the survey is obtained from Survey Sampling International, LLC (http://www.surveysampling.com/).

The survey was conducted Sunday, October 21, through Thursday, October 25, 2012. During this time, interviews were conducted from 1 to 6 p.m. on Sunday and from 5 to 9 p.m. on Monday through Thursday. The Goucher Poll uses Voxco Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) software to administer its surveys. Interviews are conducted by a staff of professionally trained, paid student interviewers.

Interviewers attempted to reach respondents with working phone numbers a maximum of five times. Only Maryland adults—residents aged 18 years or older—were eligible to participate.

Interviews were not conducted with adults who were reached at business or work numbers. For each landline number reached, one adult from that household was selected on the basis of being the oldest or youngest adult in that residence. Thirty-five percent of the interviews were conducted on a cell phone, and 65 percent were conducted on a landline.

Interviews for this survey were completed with 667 Maryland citizens. For a sample size of 667 there is a 95 percent probability that the survey results have a plus or minus 3.79 percent margin of error from the actual population distribution for any given survey question. Margin of errors are higher for subsamples.

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