The Democratic candidate has a 32 percentage point lead over Republican Dan Cox, late September interviews reveal
It will be difficult for Dan Cox, Republican candidate for governor of Maryland, to win the fast-approaching gubernatorial contest, finds The Washington Post’s latest poll with the University of Maryland’s Center for Democracy and Civic Engagement (CDCE).
When the 810 registered Maryland voters surveyed were asked via phone who they would vote for if the election were occurring that very day—between Sept. 22-27—86% of the registered Democrats and 22% of registered Republicans said they would vote for the Democratic candidate Wes Moore. Independents were evenly split between the two, 38% choosing each.
CDCE Director and Department of Government and Politics Professor Michael Hanmer told The Post, “The election is still far enough away for a number of things to change, but given the fundamental features of this race, unless there is a shocking revelation, it is hard to see how Cox can win … The windows [of opportunity] are really just on the economy and taxes and some sort of catastrophic mistake from Wes Moore.”
The Post and CDCE also discovered what issues were most important to voters. The economy took the top spot with 24% of voters saying that’s the issue they most care about, but it was of noticeably greater concern to Cox supporters, 43% of whom ranked the economy as their top issue, than Moore supporters, 16% of whom said the same.
Though the second-most important issue (20%) overall, “threats to democracy” was the No. 1 issue for slightly more than one-quarter (27%) of those who expressed support for Moore. By comparison, only 8% of Cox supporters considered this their most important issue.
This concern among Moore supporters is likely tied to the majority’s belief that Cox is reminiscent of former president Donald Trump: Almost six in 10 voters said they believe Cox is either “very” or “somewhat” similar to Trump.
“Those who say threats to democracy drive their choice seem highly motivated to vote, with 90% saying they are certain to vote. Those who are motivated by other issues are considerably less certain about casting a ballot this November,” said Hanmer, citing additional poll findings and referencing the other issues voters said were most important, including crime (14%), public education (14%), abortion (11%) and taxes (8%). “Our results showing threats to democracy as the most important issue for vote choice among Democrats, those age 65 and older, and college graduates suggests existing fault lines in politics may be expanding …. [and are] another indicator that we need more research in this area."
About the CDCE
The CDCE educates, informs, and engages citizens and scholars in order to improve democratic governance. CDCE does so by partnering with organizations like The Washington Post to bridge the gap between academic research and practical solutions to problems related to the role of government and its citizens as equal partners.
Photo of "Maryland Welcomes You" road sign on US Route 15 at the border of Maryland and Virginia by iStock.