Last week, Team Ehrlich and many observers of Maryland politics were attacking the believability of a Washington Post poll which attributed an 11-point lead to Martin O'Malley in the Maryland governor's race. Bob Ehrlich himself criticized the poll as being "out of whack" with reality.
Well, a week later, there's still wackiness in the air.
The latest Rasmussen poll gives O'Malley an eight-point lead (49 percent to 41 percent) over Ehrlich. The previous Rasmussen poll taken in late September had O'Malley's lead at just three points (50 percent to 47 percent). If the undecideds break in challenger Ehrlich's favor, the latest Rasmussen poll extrapolates into a 51 percent to 47 percent O'Malley victory.
The Rasmussen poll is interesting in that it shows both candidates losing support (-6 for Ehrlich versus -1 for O'Malley). Nonetheless, together the Rasmussen and Post polls offer compelling evidence that O'Malley has gained the clear advantage in the race.
O'Malley's cash warchest, along with the quality and frequency of his TV advertising, is clearly behind his growing lead. Further, Ehrlich's inability to offer voters a clear and compelling message on job growth and economic issues undermines his ability to sell the case for change.
I'm curious to see how Team Ehrlich rebuts the most recent Rasmussen poll. This will be tricky in that, in attacking the Post poll, they cited the September Rasmussen poll as a more accurate snapshot. The one consolation (if you can call it that) is that some Ehrlich supporters have joined the ranks of the undecided rather than switched allegiances to O'Malley. If he was winning them before, perhaps a change in strategy and messaging may help Ehrlich win them back.
For the record, I have been predicting a 51 percent to 48 percent O'Malley victory for the better part of a year. I'm sticking with my prediction.