Goucher Releases New Poll Results

The Goucher Poll asked citizens for their perspectives regarding the job approval and favorability ratings of President Barack Obama, senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski, and the U.S. Congress. Citizens also were asked their opinions about the sequester and their trust in the federal government.

Favorability and Job Approval Ratings

Fifty-six percent of Marylanders have a favorable view of President Barack Obama, a small decline from his 60 percent approval rating measured by the Goucher Poll five months ago. Thirty-eight percent hold an unfavorable view of the president. When asked to rate how well he is handling his job as president, 38 percent disapprove, and 57 percent approve.

Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski fared much better individually than the legislative body in which they serve. Fifty-one percent of residents view Senator Mikulski favorably, while 23 percent view her unfavorably, and 26 percent indicated they “don’t know” how to rate the senator. Forty-one percent of residents view Senator Ben Cardin favorably, while 22 percent view him unfavorably, and 36 percent indicated they “don’t know” how to rate the senator.

Marylanders are displeased with the U.S. Congress: 84 percent disapprove, and only 10 approve of the way Congress is handling its job.

Residents are more divided when asked how much they trust the federal government: 51 percent say they can trust the federal government “very little” or “none of the time,” and 47 percent think they can trust the federal government “some” or “all of the time” to do what is in the public’s interest.

Sequester

Citizens also were asked their opinions toward the sequester—budget cuts to federal spending that began on March 1, 2013. A sizable majority of Maryland citizens, 67 percent, indicated they were familiar with the sequester.

Residents indicating they were familiar with the sequester were then asked who they held responsible for the government not being able to reach an agreement before the sequester:

37 percent hold the Republicans in Congress responsible

20 percent hold President Obama responsible

22 percent hold all of Congress and President Obama equally responsible

14 percent hold all of Congress, but not President Obama, responsible

4 percent hold the Democrats in Congress responsible

Residents indicating they were familiar with the sequester were also asked about the potential economic impacts, if any, of the sequester:

 47 percent believe the sequester will have a negative impact on their personal financial situation

75 percent believe the sequester will have a negative impact on the Maryland economy

68 percent believe the sequester will have a negative impact on the U.S. economy

“Marylanders are paying attention to and are concerned about the sequester,” said Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center. “With such a large proportion of the Maryland economy tied directly to federal government expenditures and funding—whether it be through defense spending, biotech research, or simply employment in a government agency—it is no wonder three-quarters of Marylanders believe the sequester will have a negative impact on the state’s economy.”

The poll, conducted March 3-7, surveyed a dual-frame (landlines and cell phones) random sample of 791 Maryland residents and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.48 percentage points. The sample is of all Maryland residents and does not restrict by registered or likely voters.

Additional crosstabs of the survey results are available upon request, and Mileah Kromer, the director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center, is available for comment. She can be reached at mileah.kromer@goucher.edu or 724-840-0990.

More information about this round of poll results, including methodology, survey question design, sample demographics, and expanded data, is availble here.

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