Thanks to my reading of the other side – namely the Maryland Juice website – I was alerted to a poll conducted recently. It’s a poll which shows that we as a movement and party have some work to do.
I’m going to reserve comment on the Goucher College survey insofar as the questions on minimum wage and pensions, the results of which gave me the sick sensation that people in this state really don’t understand economics, and focus on the key question of name recognition. Obviously I knew every name on this list but it turns out most of Maryland is familiar with few of the people running for governor. In order of name recognition, the percentages of people who have heard of these candidates are as follows:
- Anthony Brown – 62.3%
- Doug Gansler – 57.9%
- Dutch Ruppersberger – 49.1%
- David Craig – 30.6%
- Charles Lollar – 22.7%
- Ron George – 21.6%
- Heather Mizeur – 13.1%
Now this is a strict name recognition poll, and not a favorable/unfavorable one. But as you can see all of the GOP hopefuls trail all but one of the Democrats, which presents a problem but also an opportunity.
As we saw in the Virginia gubernatorial race, Ken Cuccinelli lost because he was defined by his opponent as hostile on social issues. Not only was the press generally favorable to Terry McAuliffe, he had a lot more money to spend in the latter days of the campaign to pour onto the thick layer of mud which had been slung for several months from both sides.
So an obvious goal of all candidates is to bring that name recognition number up, but also do it in such a way to present a positive image. With the rash of bad news Doug Gansler has endured, surely his recognition is up – but just as certainly his negatives are as well. The same can become true of Anthony Brown, since in the same Goucher Poll his boss Martin O’Malley only had a 41-40 favorable vs. unfavorable ratio, with strong unfavorables running 11.3 points ahead of strong favorables (e.g. a -11.3, which echoes the -15.1 O’Malley had in the recent Maryland Poll). Those two are as peas in a pod to me.
Besides, the factor Marylanders are most looking for in their next governor is trustworthiness. I don’t trust any of the Democrats any farther than I can throw them – the closest is Mizeur, who makes no bones about being liberal.
If we can alert as many Marylanders as possible to our candidates with good and truthful words – accentuate the positive – it makes their job easier. Time to get to work.