Sunday, February 28, 2010

O'Malley Leads Ehrlich by 6, But Cannot Break 50%

The latest poll in the Maryland governor's race shows incumbent Martin O'Malley with a 6 point lead over potential rival, and former governor, Bob Ehrlich - the race stands at 49% to 43%. The new survey, by Rasmussen Reports, shows a closer race than a poll conducted last month, and a near halving of O'Malley's lead since a poll conducted last September. Like every poll on the race it shows that O'Malley simply cannot crack 50% and polling below 50% is a bad sign for any incumbent, but the Maryland race is a bit unusual as it pits two governors against one another. Ehrlich may not be the incumbent, but he cannot seem to make it into the mid 40s. Maryland is a tough nut for any Republican candidate to crack with a 56% to 27% voter registration advantage among Democrats. Ehrlich carried the day in 2002, but came up well short in 2006. He'll need a strong GOP electoral wind come November to help carry him over the top.

Ehrlich may hold out hope that a Democratic primary challenge from George Owings weakens O'Malley as he enters the final months of the race - the 1970 race for the Senate in Maryland offers some interesting parallels. State Attorney General Doug Gansler's recent decision on same-sex marriage may also play a role in the 2010 race. The Washington Post offers a great analysis of the potential political fallout of the decision in Maryland - a state that often prefers its Democrats to be more Blue Dog and a bit less True Blue.