Thursday, August 19, 2010

O'Malley vs. Ehrlich - Still A Horse Race

So, the latest Rasmussen Poll of the governor’s race in Maryland still has it as a tossup, with O’Malley at 45 percent and Ehrlich with 44 percent.

I find it interesting that the race remains this close. After all, O’Malley is running TV ads and Ehrlich hasn’t. O’Malley has started using the bully pulpit of his office to publicize good news – such as recent figures showing an increase in adoptions in Maryland – while Ehrlich’s PR team has not scheduled any events which have generated significant earned media for a while. O’Malley’s job approval rating has jumped four points since July to 54 percent, and his favorability rating is 56 percent – respectable figures in an anti-incumbent year.

Still, Ehrlich is very much in the hunt. One of the reasons may have something to do with the following: While 90 percent of Republicans back Ehrlich, only 70 percent of Democrats support O’Malley.

To win, O’Malley will need to make every supporter he does have count. That means waging an aggressive voter mobilization strategy to turn out his supporters in what nationally will be an unfriendly year for Democrats. Energizing black voters, who comprise 30 percent of the state’s electorate, is a key part of that strategy.

The Maryland Democratic Party just reported raising $1.5 million, and still has $1.3 million cash on hand. Look for most of this money to be used to build a program which aggressively leverages the state’s new early voting law.

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