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O'Malley and Cardin Ahead, but Races Tighter

Five weeks before the November election, new polls conducted for the McClatchy Newspapers and MSNBC show Maryland's Democratic nominees for governor and U.S. Senate leading their Republican opponents but by smaller margins than other polls have shown..

In the Senate race, Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin is ahead of Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele by 47 to 41 percent, with 12 percent undecided. Cardin leads by more than 2 to 1 among voters who list the Iraq war or health care as the most important issue, while Steele is ahead 3 to 2 among those who rank terrorism at the top.

In the governor's contest, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley leads incumbent Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. 47 to 43 percent.

A Baltimore Sun poll released last week found O'Malley with a 6-point percentage lead and Cardin with an 11-point advantage. O'Malley also released an internal poll that showed him with a 9-point lead.

The McClatchy-MSNBC polls, conducted from Sept. 22 to Sept. 28, surveyed 625 likely voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

By Ann Marimow  |  October 2, 2006; 11:44 AM ET
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