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First Click, Maryland:
Republican Congress a 'good thing'? Voters split.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010:

The Agenda
Aaron.jpgLikely voters in Maryland give a wide lead to the state's Democratic incumbent governor, but are more evenly split on the question of whether it would be a "good thing" or "bad thing" if Republicans gain control of Congress, according to a new Washington Post poll.

The finding suggests that even in one of the nation's bluest states, and in close proximity to Washington, President Obama and Democrats have failed to convince moderate and independent voters that they should continue to lead the House and Senate.

The responses also begin to measure a state-national disconnect that appears to be allowing Gov. Martin O'Malley to connect with Maryland voters even as they say they remain deeply dissatisfied with the way the federal government works.

capitol.jpgAsked if "control of the Congress switched from the Democrats to the Republicans after November's election, do you think that would be a good thing, a bad thing, or wouldn't it make any difference?" Thirty-five percent said it would be a good thing, 38 percent a bad thing, and 25 percent said it would make no difference.

Among independents, 43 percent said a good thing, 23 percent a bad thing, and a third said it wouldn't matter.

Democratic and Republican respondents broke more predictably along party lines. But even among Democrats, 25 percent said a Republican takeover would make no difference and 10 percent of those who described themselves as moderate Democrats said Republicans leading would be a "good thing."

"I know it's becoming a cliche but I just really don't like anything going on down there,
said Tom Moxley, 66, a poll respondent and construction worker in Millersville.

Moxley said he expects Republicans to win the House. "Like a lot of Americans I'm deeply upset," he said.

Support in Maryland for a Republican-led Congress still lags most other parts of the country. Nationwide, 46 percent of likely voters this month characterized a change in control as a good thing, 29 percent a bad thing, and 23 percent said it would make no difference.

In a portion of the poll released on Monday, O'Malley (D) holds a 14-point lead over former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R).

-- Aaron C. Davis

News You Should Know

O'Malley stretches truth on Ehrlich lobbyist label, but criticism sticks

"Over the past four months, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has assailed Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. with a multimillion-dollar barrage of political ads questioning the former governor's work with a North Carolina-based corporate law firm ... Ehrlich has dismissed the ads as "goofy" and "ludicrous" ... In interviews, Ehrlich, his clients and public officials said he did not exert direct and personal influence on government officials in the traditional role of a lobbyist. ... But Ehrlich advised companies with business before the state and in Washington, and by not releasing a full list of his clients, he has allowed the worst perceptions to stick," writes The Post's Ann E. Marimow in a deeper look at Ehrlich's four years since leaving office.

Down in polls, Ehrlich tries to focus on January
EhrlichEssex.jpg"Former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. pledged Monday to use his first day back in office to take quick action on several priorities, including cutting the state sales tax and halting plans for a costly light-rail line in the Washington suburbs," writes The Post's John Wagner. "The announcement, staged at a blue-collar pub in the heart of Ehrlich's political base, was an attempt to re-energize a campaign that has been set back by a series of polls in recent days showing the Republican falling further behind Gov. Martin O'Malley (D). ... Ehrlich also promised that he would immediately seek to spare Marylanders from the federal health care law and set up a bipartisan panel known as the "Recovery Maryland" team that would identify barriers to job creation."

Md. gov campaigns pay for RV, helicopters, trains
"Gov. Martin O'Malley ponied up about $10,000 for a campaign trail recreational vehicle and $1,189 for Amtrak trips. Former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. doled out about $20,000 for a fashion show that doubled as a gubernatorial fundraiser and $3,000 for helicopter travel. Those items are among nearly $10 million in expenses for the two leading candidates for governor, documented in their final pre-election campaign finance reports made public over the weekend," report The Baltimore Sun's Julie Bykowicz and Annie Linskey. "Ehrlich, a Republican, reported spending about $3.5 million; O'Malley, a Democrat, about $5.8 million. Media outreach such as television advertising made up the bulk of the costs. But the reports also reveal how the candidates have spent their past few weeks."

Obama remains popular, but not a force in Md. gov's race
Thumbnail image for OmalleyObama.jpgPresident Obama remains relatively popular in heavily Democratic Maryland, but most voters say he will not factor into their vote in next week's governor's race, a new Washington Post poll has found. Among likely voters in Maryland, 59 percent say they approve of the way Obama is handling his job as president, while 40 percent disapprove and 2 percent have no opinion," writes The Post's John Wagner. "Still, a full 70 percent say that Obama will not be a factor in how they vote in next week's election between Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R). Eighteen percent say expressing support for Obama will be one reason for their vote for governor. Eleven percent say expressing opposition to Obama is among their reasons."

Early voters backing O'Malley
Fully 16 percent of Marylanders say they will cast their ballot before the November 2 general election, taking advantage of new early voting rules across the state. These voters back Gov. Martin O'Malley over Bob Ehrlich by a wide 3 to 1 margin, according to the new Washington Post poll," writes The Post's Kyle Dropp. "Overall, early voters break for O'Malley by a 68 to 24 percent margin. O'Malley holds a narrower 51 to 43 lead among those planning to cast their ballots on Election Day."


"It's a cliche because it's the truth: It's all turnout ... It's a turnout election."
-- A sanguine former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. on saying the winner on Nov. 2 will be the candidate who gets more of his supporters to come out to vote. "

"It is absurd people can't get married here in Maryland."
-- Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, who received a standing ovation on Sunday night at Equality Maryland's annual gala. The gay and lesbian rights group formally endorsed O'Malley for governor.


Trust First Click for critical news and analysis you need to navigate Maryland politics each weekday. You can also find First Click on Facebook and Twitter.

By Aaron C. Davis  | October 26, 2010; 7:37 AM ET
Categories:  Aaron C. Davis, First Click  
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Obama popular, but not big factor in governor's race

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