October 8, 2004

MD 50-50:

Too Close for Kerry's Comfort: What's Going on In Maryland? Bush is surprisingly close in the Old Line State. (Rachel DiCarlo, 10/08/2004, Weekly Standard)

[M]ore than a few eyebrows were raised when two new polls came out that show George W. Bush inching surprisingly close to John Kerry in the Old Line State. Last week, a Survey USA poll had the two candidates tied at 48 percent. This week, Rasmussen gave Kerry just a three-point lead and moved Maryland into the toss-up category. Before the Republican convention, the same Rasmussen poll had Kerry comfortably ahead, 54 percent to 41 percent.

If Bush won Maryland, one of the most reliably Democratic states in the country, the race would be over for Kerry. This is highly unlikely, but there are a few factors that suggest why Kerry is losing ground in two polls.

First is the influence of Maryland's highest elected official, Governor Bob Ehrlich. Elected in 2002, Ehrlich, who connected with Marylanders so well he beat a Kennedy in the race, is Maryland's first Republican governor since Spiro Agnew in 1966. A native son of Baltimore, Ehrlich's hometown pride, good looks, easy manner, and charm play well with voters. "With him in office, Republicans are no longer boogeymen," says Maryland political commentator Richard Vatz.

It has seemed strange all along that anyone would consider any state with a Republican governor--including CA, NY, MD, MA, VT, CT, HI, etc.--to be reliably Blue. Republicans are, by definition, competitive in such states.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 8, 2004 4:38 PM

MD, Like NJ, is probably a fairly safe Dem state except that it was directly impacted by 9-11 so Bush has some ability to gain with voters there. I don't know if Bush will take MD (or NJ or WI or other close blue states) but it does help offset the Bush is doomed rhetoric when he is close in states Kerry has to win.

Posted by: AWW at October 8, 2004 4:55 PM

Bush doesn't need to win NJ and MD, he just needs to make Kerry burn time and resources there.

Posted by: AC at October 8, 2004 8:23 PM

Before going much further, Survey USA polling shows this for Maryland:

Kerry (D) 56% 
Bush (R) 41% 
Other/Undecided 3% 

Data Collected: 10/5/04 - 10/7/04 
Sample Population: 583 Likely Voters 
Margin of Error: 4.1% 

Posted by: Steve White at October 9, 2004 2:24 AM

Survey USA? 583?

Posted by: oj at October 9, 2004 8:12 AM

Try "Margin of Error: 41.0%"

Posted by: Uncle Bill at October 9, 2004 10:22 AM

CA vote for a republican president? Schwarzenegger is very popular, but CA go for Bush? That would be a real, I mean a REAL, miracle.

Posted by: at October 9, 2004 4:34 PM

Republicans are not competitive in Maryland. Ehrlich was elected because the State was facing a $1.8 billion general fund deficit (about 20%) run up by an immensely unpopular and even more uncharismatic governor who left his wife of 20+ years for a woman 20 years his junior, who shortly had his child, and the Democrat in the race was the only Kennedy ever to have lost an election, and she did so because she was a terribly bad campaigner and public speaker, a tin ear for politics, as evidenced by her naming a white retired admiral who had been a Republican until several days (if I recall correctly) before her announcement, and she had bad personal hygiene to boot.

Beyond Ehrlich, and possibly (only possibly, though) Lt. Gov. Steele, the Republicans in Maryland have absolutely no one. Republicans are not competitive in Maryland.

Well, Maryland Republicans. Bush has a shot. A small one, but it's there.

Posted by: jsmith at October 10, 2004 12:33 AM