O'Malley's approval rating climbs
A new poll released today by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies has Gov. O'Malley's approval rating inching up to 49 percent, with 37 percent disapproving. That's up from a 45-35 split in September and significantly better than his apporval ratings from a year ago when voter anger over tax increases passed during the 2007 special session pushed him down into the 30s. It will be interesting to see how that number changes in the coming months as the economy gets worse and he's forced to take more severe action (probably spending cuts rather than tax increases) to balance the budget.
Other key figures from the survey:
- The economy is, far and away, the most pressing issue on the minds of Marylanders. A year ago, 10 percent of voters cited the economy as their top concern; now, 61 percent do.
- 53 percent favor the death penalty in Maryland and 41 percent oppose it. That's a narrower margin of support than has historically been the case, perhaps correlated with O'Malley's advocacy on the issue and the report of a gubernatorial task force recommending an end to capital punishment.
- A solid majority say life without parole is a viable alternative to the death penalty. 65 percent of Maryalnders say it is an acceptable alternative and 31 percent say it isn't.
- And finally, a whopping 80 percent of Marylanders approve of the way President Elect Obama has handled the transition. Even Republicans approve by a margin of 54-26. (Democrats: 94-3.)