Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Gonzales: O'Malley Leading 47 - 42 Percent

As I reported yesterday, Gonzales Research and Marketing Strategies came out with its latest poll of the Maryland governor’s race. Gonzales, which had the race at 45 percent for O’Malley and 42 percent Ehrlich in July, now has O’Malley up by 47 – 42 percent, with eight percent undecided.

I found a few things about the poll quite interesting:

  • While the Rasmussen poll had Ehrlich leading independents by a wide margin, the Gonzales poll only has him leading by six points (42 – 36 percent). For Ehrlich to win, he needs to sweep independents by a much bigger margin.
  • Ehrlich is only leading in the Baltimore suburbs by eight percent (49 – 41 percent).
  • As O’Malley’s lead grew by two points, the number of undecideds shrunk by the same amount – clear evidence of modest momentum breaking in O’Malley’s favor.
  • The poll has Ehrlich’s support among Democrats at 17 percent – far less than the 25 percent goal espoused by Team Ehrlich.
For me, however, the most interesting thing about the poll is something which none of the major news outlets have yet noted: Despite his fundraising advantage, saturation advertising, and largely favorable debate coverage, O’Malley has yet to break 50 percent.  Further, the poll has his approval rating at 48 percent - lower than either the Post or Rasmussen poll.

This tells me that, while Ehrlich remains a long-shot candidate, the situation is still fluid enough that an Ehrlich win is not impossible.


  1. This is a poll that will have some good in it for both sides. Clearly O'Malley remains the heavy favorite, and Ehrlich just cannot get over the mid-40s.

    But, as you noted, O'Malley - a Democrat incumbent in Maryland - has only polled over 50% once in this cycle. As a challenger in '06, he regularly polled over 50%.

    The usual incumbent rule might not apply this year since both candidates are so well-known, but I still think the undecideds figure to break Ehrlich's way. Team O'Malley can't feel ecstatic about a 4.5% lead before undecideds are allocated.

    Having said that, any thought as to where the rumors came from that the poll would show Ehrlich tied or up a point? I heard the same rumors you reported.

  2. "O’Malley has yet to break 50 percent. Further, the poll has his approval rating at 48 percent - lower than either the Post or Rasmussen poll."

    He broke 50 in another poll, but sticking to this poll. 47-42 leaves 11% on the table. If pushed the undecided would easily push O'Malley to 50 or above. On the flip side Ehrlich is unable to break 41% with the exception of this poll -and it's only barely at 42.

    The situation is not fluid. Ehrlich is done.

  3. Whre is the link to the poll demographics? You really can't tell anything until the sampling methodology is revealed.

  4. O'Malley increased his total from 45% to 47% from the previous Gonzalez poll while Ehrlich remained at 42%. This is not good news for Ehrlich.Bob is in a free fall.

  5. Anon @ 10/19 @ 6:47:

    Good question. I saw a pdf version of the poll, and it wasn't posted on Gonzales' website when I posted this. I will post a link to the actual poll when it appears.

  6. 12:50:

    Yes, undecideds usually break for a challenger by a 2/3 margin, which means that the final result could be close. I'm sticking with my prediction: O'Malley 51%, Ehrlich 48%.

    I heard that the rumor about the poll showing a tie originated in Team Ehrlich's camp. Perhaps it was wishful thinking - or a desperation fundraising ploy.

  7. RJC,

    The race is not done, however several factors should be considered in predicting a winner:

    1. What outside help will the candidates recieve? RGA has pulled ads in DC, DGA is still running ads. Ehrlich doesnt have Steele running or turning out votes, Mikulski is in full campaign swing, running commercials, turning her vote out, which will also be O'Malleys.

    2. Cash on hand for radio tv and mail> O'Malley has a big fundraising advantage and it is evidenced by the amount of ads he i8s running on TV and radio in both major markets. Ehrlich, is dark on radio in both markets, had a buy in DC and Bmore of tv commercials that seems to be trailing O'malley at least 3-1.

    3. WHich party will do a better job of turning out their voters? Historically, that has been the Dems strength, however this year may be different. Dem State party is flush with cash and running a full voter turnout effort, GOP State party doesnt have 100k on hand, havent seen evidence of their turnout effort.

    Additionally, it appears that Gonzales is prediciting record high GOP turnout and record low Dem turnout. The fact that Ehrlich still trails by a significant margin (remember only 97% are at play, 3% are voting fringe)under model conditions is not encouraging. He must win 81 percent of the undecideds to prevail, and without resources to be on radio or TV, that seems like an uphill fight.

  8. The partisan composition of the sample is pretty consistent between the two surveys. In July, Gonzales used a model that split the electorate thus: 55 percent Democrats, 32.1 percent Republicans and 12.9 percent independents. In the new survey, it's 55.1 percent Democrats, 33 percent Republicans and 11.9 percent independents. But since Mr. Ehrlich's success or failure depends on how many Democrats switch parties to vote for him, party composition alone doesn't tell the whole story.

    But estimates of the racial composition of the electorate have shifted in a way that should favor Mr. Ehrlich. In July, Gonzales' sample had 22.9 percent of the statewide votes coming from African-Americans, who heavily favor Mr. O'Malley, while the October survey knocked that down to 20.8 percent. Likewise, the geographic composition of the sample this time is somewhat more favorable to Mr. Ehrlich. In July, Baltimore City and the Washington suburbs -- strongholds for Mr. O'Malley and other Democrats -- made up 39.1 percent of the sample. In the new poll, they make up 36.7 percent of the electorate, while the estimates for turnout from the Baltimore suburbs, the Eastern Shore and Western Maryland (home to Mr. Ehrlich's base) have all increased. The changes aren't huge, but they could make a difference of a couple of points


  9. I'm guessing Ehrlich and his unimpressive inner circle thought the subtle change in sample would give Bob the 1% lead.Anything can happen of course, but the fat lady is warming up and the fat man is ordering pizza at Squires.

  10. While O'Malley not breaking 50 may cause some concern, on the other end Ehlrich can't even get to his 2006 number, he hasn't moved a point since he annouced. 42 seems like hisnatuarl base of repubs and disgruntled Dems. Is there a message issue?