Monday, November 19, 2012

2014 MD GOVERNOR: Anthony Brown Poll Shows Early Lead Over Gansler, Franchot, Ulman // BATTLEGROUND: DC Burbs

All signs indicate that Maryland's 2014 statewide races are ramping up, and so far no office is more hotly contested than the Free State's upcoming contest to succeed Gov. Martin O'Malley. Today Maryland Juice received a copy of internal polling results from a source within Lt. Governor Anthony Brown's campaign, and they purport to reveal three things:
  1. Brown starts the race with a clear lead,
  2. the Washington suburbs will be Maryland's battleground region in 2014, and
  3. nearly one in three Democrats have not yet formed an opinion on the race.
Note that this poll was conducted in September 2012 and only surveyed voters about Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Comptroller Peter Franchot, Attorney General Doug Gansler, and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman. The survey did not seem to ask voters about Delegate Heather Mizeur, who is now campaigning for and exploring a run for Governor. The polling firm was GarinHartYang, which has also done work for Gov. O'Malley and some of the Maryland ballot question campaigns this November. Below you can see the summary results and polling memo, but I start by highlighting a few of the key figures and findings.
  1. Brown has higher name id, positives, and intensity of support than his competitors. 63% of voters know him, compared with only 54% for both Franchot and Gansler,
  2. If Franchot gets out of the race, the dynamics of the race do not change significantly. His supporters break roughly evenly between Brown and Gansler.
Here's a quick excerpt from the polling memo's conclusion section (excerpt below)
GARIN-HART-YANG: The Washington, D.C., media market is looking like the battleground (especially if both Montgomery County candidates decide to run for governor), but even in trial heats with Gansler and Franchot, who have longer track records in this jurisdiction, the Lt. Governor leads in the Washington, D.C., area (admittedly narrowly) in BOTH the four-way trial heat and the three-way trial heat (without Franchot), and even in a one-on-one match up with the attorney general.

In summary, the polling data indicates that Lt. Governor Brown is best positioned to win the 2014 Democratic nomination, and the data are further encouraging about his prospects to EXPAND his support. While it is not unexpected that a sizeable proportion of Democratic primary voters (33%) have yet to make up their mind for an election that is almost two years away, the data also show that Lt. Governor Brown is well positioned to appeal to undecided voters....

MY QUICK THOUGHTS: It seems to me that with this first shot, Brown is declaring himself the front-runner in this race. Maryland Juice agrees with that conclusion for numerous reasons, but I note that this race could turn upside-down easily. For one, money, campaigns and issues do matter -- especially in a Democratic Primary. Moreover, this polling was done before any candidates' media buys have been able to define the contenders and issues. On that note, it is hard to ignore the huge multi-million dollar cash lead Gansler is starting the race with, and the unsettled nature of the candidate field. Consider, for example, that early presidential polls have had high-name-id candidates like Joe Lieberman and Joe Biden scoring high among voters -- and yet, I think neither of them could likely win a Democratic Primary for President. I suspect there is at least a little bit of that effect going on here. With those caveats, check out the Anthony Brown polling memo below:
Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown 2014 Governor's Race Polling Memo - September 2012

1 comment:

  1. How could Ulman even get 8% favorable ratings?