Republican Gov. Larry Hogan leads Democrat Ben Jealous by 16 points, 52 percent to 36 percent, in the Maryland governor’s race, according to a poll released Tuesday by Gonzales Research Media Services.
Mr. Hogan, who is seeking a second term after an upset win in 2014, was seen favorably by 64 percent of voters including 53 percent of Democrats and had a 71 percent approval rating in the poll.
Ninety percent of Republicans said they approve of the job Mr. Hogan is doing, as did 61 percent of Democrats - a critical number in a state where Democrats have a 2-to-1 registration advantage over Republicans.
Mr. Jealous, a former head of the NAACP, was seen favorably by 31 percent of voters in the poll and unfavorably by 33 percent. Twenty-one percent were neutral, and 15 percent didn’t yet recognize his name.
The 16-point margin is comparable to an 18-point, 52 percent to 34 percent, lead Mr. Hogan had over Mr. Jealous in a Gonzales poll released ahead of the Democratic primary contest in June.
In the new survey, 1 percent said they would vote for a third-party candidate and 11 percent said they were undecided.
The Jealous campaign is banking that antipathy to President Trump in the state will help turn out new Democratic voters who might have stayed home in 2014 and propel him to victory.
The poll did show that 59 percent of voters said they disapprove of the job Mr. Trump is doing as president - including 52 percent who said they “strongly disapprove.”
But just 13 percent of those not yet voting for Mr. Jealous, and 26 percent of Democrats not yet voting for him, said they would consider voting for the Democrat “as a way to express disapproval of Donald Trump.”
Mr. Hogan has tried to carve out an identity separate and apart from Mr. Trump within the Republican party. He skipped the 2016 Republican National Convention and said he voted for his dad in the last presidential election.
The Jealous campaign questioned the findings of the survey, pointing out that the final Gonzales poll before the June Democratic primary gave a slight edge to Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker before Mr. Jealous went on to win by double digits.
The campaign provided internal numbers last week showing Mr. Hogan leading Mr. Jealous by 9 points, 49 percent to 40 percent, with the gap narrowing to 2 points once respondents were read descriptions of the candidates and their platforms.
“The truth is this is a competitive race which is why Republicans have spent more than a million dollars lying about Ben’s record,” said Jealous campaign senior adviser Kevin Harris.
The Gonzales survey of 831 likely voters was taken from Aug. 1-8 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.