Goucher Poll Releases Results on Important Statewide Issues

Twenty-seven percent of Maryland residents indicate the economy is the most important issue facing the state today. Another 15 percent say the most important issue is taxes, followed by 14 percent saying it is education. Forty-six percent believe the state has gotten off on the wrong track, while 45 percent think it is going in the right direction.

The poll, conducted October 27-31, surveyed a dual-frame (landlines and cell phones) random sample of 665 Maryland residents and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points. The sample is of all Maryland residents and does not restrict by registered or likely voters.

Residents were divided on their opinions about Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. Forty-one percent of Marylanders have a favorable view of O’Malley, while 40 percent have an unfavorable view. Eighteen percent of Marylanders indicated they “didn’t know” whether they had a favorable or unfavorable view of the governor.

Gubernatorial Election

Marylanders also were asked whether they recognized the names of the candidates running for governor of the state. Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown and Attorney General Doug Gansler are the most recognizable names in the race. On the Republican side, Harford County Executive David Craig is recognized by 31 percent of respondents.

Name Recognition of Maryland Gubernatorial Candidates

  • 62 percent recognize “Anthony Brown”
  • 58 percent recognize “Doug Gansler”
  • 49 percent recognize “Dutch Ruppersberger”
  • 31 percent recognize “David Craig”
  • 23 percent recognize “Charles Lollar”
  • 22 percent recognize “Ron George”
  • 13 percent recognize “Heather Mizeur”

Respondents also were asked what characteristic they would like to have in a new governor. Being honest and trustworthy topped the list (19 percent), followed by caring about and having compassion for all Marylanders across the state (13 percent). Respondents also indicated they want a new governor who is focused on the economy, jobs, and fiscal responsibility (8 percent).

When asked about the issues they most wanted the General Assembly to focus on when the session begins in January, Marylanders indicate they wanted the legislature to focus on economic and budget issues (17 percent), followed closely by taxes (15 percent), and jobs/unemployment (13 percent). Another 12 percent indicate they wanted the Maryland General Assembly to address education.

“It is clear that Marylanders have the economy and taxes on their minds—not only for the upcoming legislative session, but also as a focus in the gubernatorial race,” said Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center. “Still wary from the recent federal government shutdown, residents will be looking to Annapolis to ensure the economic stability of the state.”

Minimum Wage

Marylanders were asked whether the state’s minimum wage should be raised to $10 per hour. About half of the respondents to the survey were given a question that included the current minimum wage ($7.25 per hour). The other half were given the same question, but without the inclusion of the current minimum wage rate. Overall, a large majority of Marylanders support raising the minimum wage to $10 per hour.

Here are the results for the questions as worded:

As you may know, the minimum wage in Maryland is $7.25 per hour. Would you [support or oppose] raising the state minimum wage to $10 per hour?

  • Support: 70 percent
  • Oppose: 27 percent

Would you [support or oppose] raising the state minimum wage to $10 per hour?

  • Support: 74 percent
  • Oppose: 24 percent

Pensions

Marylanders also were asked if the average state pension in Maryland was too little, too much, or about the right amount. Half of the respondents were given a question that included the approximate average state pension (about $12,000 annually; source: Maryland State Retirement and Pension System Report, 2012),while the other half were not.

Here are the results for the questions as worded:

Next, I’d like to ask you two questions about pensions. In Maryland, retired state employees receive an average annual pension of about $12,000 per year. Do you think the average pension for a retired Maryland state employee is [too little, too much, or about the right amount]?

  • Too Little: 59 percent
  • About the Right Amount: 26 percent
  • Too Much: 4 percent
  • Don’t Know: 9 percent

Next, I’d like to ask you two questions about pensions. Do you think the average pension for a retired Maryland state employee is [too little, too much, or about the right amount]?

  • Too Little: 36 percent
  • About the Right Amount: 21 percent
  • Too Much: 11 percent
  • Don’t Know: 31 percent

Sixty-seven percent of respondents agreed that all Maryland workers, not just those employed by the state or local governments, should have a pension, while 28 percent disagreed.

For more information, including the survey methodology and survey question design, please click here.

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. For additional media requests, please contact Kristen Pinheiro, director of media relations, at 410-337-6316 or Kristen.pinheiro@goucher.edu.

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