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Poll: Obama's impact; big change from 2006

Christopher Dean Hopkins

For more results from The Post's poll on Maryland election issues, come back to PostLocal.com or the Maryland Politics blog late tonight.

News that President Obama will hit the campaign trail in Maryland next week in support of Martin O'Malley is sure to buoy Democratic hopes of retaining the governorship. But should it?

A new Washington Post poll in the state reveals evidence for either answer.

Obama scored a dominant victory in Maryland two years ago, thumping Republican John S. McCain by a wide, 62 percent to 37 percent margin. And the new poll shows the president is still broadly popular - 61 percent of all registered voters in the heavily Democratic state say they approve of the way he is doing the job.

At the same time, voters overwhelmingly say the president won't be a factor in their choice between O'Malley and former-governor Bob Ehrlich, his Republican challenger.

Some 17 percent of all voters say their vote for the state's top job will be, in part, to express support for Obama; 11 percent say one reason for their vote will be to oppose the president. Most, 70 percent, say their views of the president won't influence their vote.

Among certain categories of voters, however, Obama is a clearer positive. About three times as many voters ages 18 to 34 say a desire to express support rather than opposition motivates their gubernatorial vote. More than a third of African American voters say their vote is in part a statement of support for the president; under 1 percent says it's more to oppose him.

Nonetheless, majorities of both younger voters and African Americans say Obama won't be a big factor.

Same as but different from 2006

When Democrat Martin O'Malley first squared off against then-governor Bob Ehrlich (R) four years ago, the economy ranked a lowly third on Maryland voters' list of concerns. Now, according to a new Washington Post poll, it's the breakaway top issue heading into the Nov. 2 election.

The increased focus on the economy - it's the No. 1 issue among the state's Democrats, Republicans and independents alike - makes 2010 a very different political landscape from the first time around, when O'Malley defeated Ehrlich 53 percent to 46 percent.

Does the altered backdrop bode well for Republicans' chances at regaining the top job in Annapolis, or is Maryland simply too Democratic to make a GOP pickup likely? For complete Washington Post poll results on the gubernatorial showdown, come back to PostLocal.com or the Maryland Politics blog late tonight.

Here's the data on what voters consider the most important issue in the race:

                       9/26/10RV  9/26/10LV  10/26/06LV
                 Crime    11         11          18
                 Taxes    16         16           7
     The state economy    37         41          16
      Public education    20         16          37
        Transportation     3          3           7
Growth and development     6          6          11
                 Other     5          6           3
            No opinion     2          1           1

*RV=registered voters; LV=likely voters

By Jon Cohen  | September 28, 2010; 4:34 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Elections, Barack Obama, Reader Polls  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Obama to join O'Malley on campaign trail next week
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Comments

61 for Obama must mean a huge sample of Democrats

Posted by: billanderson0054 | September 28, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Look Bobby talks about cutting the sales tax back to 5% WITHOUT talking about how to make up the revenue short fall. Well, to those of us who live here, that is voodoo economics - typical GOP crap. When he says that, we should all ask how he will make up the revenue shortfall!!!

Posted by: kinsman_bob | September 28, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

kinsman_bob: What about a revenue shortfall? Maybe we will just have to cut some government waste. It seems to me that liberals all say that if a tax is cut, we need to make up for the shortfall. I ask to get a look at the entitlement programs and government spending and see where that can be cut. Our government is getting too big and wasting too much money. They are the ones who need to tighten their belt and save us some money.

Posted by: Jsuf | September 28, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

kinsman_bob: What about a revenue shortfall? Maybe we will just have to cut some government waste. It seems to me that liberals all say that if a tax is cut, we need to make up for the shortfall. I ask to get a look at the entitlement programs and government spending and see where that can be cut. Our government is getting too big and wasting too much money. They are the ones who need to tighten their belt and save us some money.

Posted by: Jsuf | September 28, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

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