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July 27, 2010

Gonzales poll shows statistical tie in governor's race

* updated with campaign responses 

A new Gonzales poll shows a dead heat between Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley and Republican former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. in the fall governor's race.

O'Malley would capture 45 percent of the vote, and Ehrlich 42 percent, with a 3.5 percentage-point margin of error, the poll shows.

In a summer of robo-polls, the Annapolis-based Gonzales Marketing and Research Strategies conducted live telephone interviews from July 13-21 of 807 registered voters "who are likely to vote." It is the firm's second governor's race poll this year. One conducted in January showed O'Malley with a larger advantage in a then-theoretical matchup with Ehrlich -- 48 percent to 39 percent.  

"The race for governor as of late July is really close," pollster Patrick Gonzales writes in a release about today's survey.  "Incumbent Governor O'Malley has a slight lead in our poll, but it's clear that either candidate could win in November."

The Gonzales poll is the first interview survey to come out this summer. Both O'Malley and Ehrlich have acknowledged that the race is close. 

"This poll confirms that Bob Ehrlich is stuck in the low-40s because people remember his record as the biggest spender in Maryland history and that Marylanders approve of the job Governor O’Malley is doing to move Maryland forward despite the national recession,” said O'Malley campaign spokesman Rick Abbruzzese.

Ehrlich spokesman Henry Fawell said the poll shows that "Marylanders are embracing Bob Ehrlich’s positive message of more jobs, lower taxes, and less spending."

"It also shows that Governor O’Malley’s negative campaigning has proven to be a major tactical mistake," he said. "We expect this race to remain very close.  Bob Ehrlich will remain focused on reaching out to everyday Marylanders to discuss his plan to lead an economic resurgence in Maryland.”

Ehrlich's campaign was so pleased with the poll that it swiftly put out its results an e-mail to supporters, asking for donations. 

Among Independents, the candidates are tied at 39 percent. Overall, 8 percent of those polled said they are undecided, down from 13 percent in January.

In addition to the horserace, the Gonzales poll probed voters' views about issues this fall -- no surprise, the economy tops that list -- and how they think O'Malley, President Barack Obama and Sen. Barbara Mikulski are doing in their jobs. O'Malley's job approval, at 48 percent, was about the same as it was in January. 

Obama's approval rating among Marylanders has continued to fall, from about 80 percent when he took office in January 2009 to 51 percent this month. Mikulski's approval rating has fallen from 67 percent in September 2009 to 59 percent in July.

“Even the popular Mikulski is feeling the effects of the anti-incumbent mood of the electorate," Gonzales writes. Mikulski's approval rating this month matches her 59 percent rating in October 2004, a month before she won election to her current term.

Until now, the only interview poll we've seen recently was the The Washington Post's May survey. It showed O'Malley leading Ehrlich among registered voters but tied among those who say they are "certain" to vote this fall, a reflection of what political analysts have called a nationwide trend against incumbents.

Some political analysts say they prefer live-interview surveys to "robo-polls," where a respondent simply presses buttons to indicate answers. Some also question the authenticity of such automated polls, which are inexpensive and often conducted by firms with partisan roots.

There have been at least four automated polls this summer, with most showing just what the Gonzales poll shows: a virtual tie.

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 7:00 AM | | Comments (37)
Categories: Horserace


This was the same set-up in July 2006 and O'Malley crushed Bobbie E. in November.

In addition, Gonzales is a Republican polling organization, so I give it in minimal cred on accuracy.

Attention Maryland voters, search your recent memory and remember why you voted Bobbie E. out just four short years ago. He only won in 2002 because he ran against a very weak but sweet Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.

O'Malley beat Ehrlich purely on the lies he propagated about how he would deal differently with utilities deregulation. Once O'Malley got into office, he did the same darned thing--and then raised our sales tax on top of it. If the Democrats have all of the answers, then why is our state in such economic mess after they've controlled it for so many years. Don't be fooled--politicians are all rich guys looking out for their own best interests. Remember O'Malley's trips to Ireland to "promote business?" Yeah, right.

I'm a former Canton resident who is against O'Malley's Redline project so Ehrlich is DEFINENTLY Getting my vote. I didn't vote for O'Malley 4yrs ago and I will Definently NOT vote for him in November after the Horrable job he's done as Governor. How does such a bad Governor win Governor of the year?

Why did O'Malley win? Because everyone was tired of republicans, period.
O'Malley is the worst. He took a surplus, and poof, we have a deficit. He did nothing about Bge like he said he would. Rates tripled. He gives himself a raise while freezing all other state salaries. He takes taxes to 6 cents on the dollar. Still funding Casa De MD, said he wouldn't. When he was a do nothing Mayor, he was against slots, no he's for them? Did he ever let that man out of jail he was wrongfully incarerated for 20+ years? Never heard anything more about it. Furloughs state employess. Tries to give himself another raise. Furlough more state employees. Raises taxes on all business in MD. MD has been getting more money in stimulus funding then the rest of the US. What has he done with the money?
Shall I go on... I will never vote for O'Malley!

Who are these people polling? rich greyand balding Republicans? In all my years since i started voting, I have never seen a pollster in my neighborhood, where i work andf play. So, Look for another Erlich defeat. I also know that anothert reason Erlich won last time is because he had a black running mate to get black votes. Erlich will go down in defeat. that is why he decided not to run against Se. Mikulski. He's no dummy.

Any dem running statewide in Maryland should be polling 55% or better.

Owe Malley is in deep trouble and he knows it. The dems know it. Thats why they are going negative early. The Owe Malley/Democrat hate speech will not work this time.

Who are these people taking these polls? I have never seen one or heard from one since i started voting. Who do they poll? Rich gre and balding republicans? It's the same old song with the same outcome, O'Malley Wins! Erlich did not run against Sen. Mikulski because he knows he would be politicall embarassed. He's no dummy.

Vote out Omalley and restore some decenciey to our State he is the laughing stock of the country. but to the illeagals is thier savior. Why dont the Paper do a report on the number of Marylanders that have been killed by illeagals this yr.

Hey Woodie, Gonzales is NOT a Republican pollster. The reason we're going back to Ehrlich is because O'Malley had to put up or shut up as Governor and he has done neither. All we hear is lies and negatives, I don't want his spin on Ehrlich. I want him to tell me what he is going to do to lead Maryland forward and he has no answers. Give him 4 more years and hang onto what little money he hasn't taken from you already. He lies when he would be better served by telling the truth and has not kept his promises to the poeople. I am reminded of that every time I pay my BG&E bill.

The GONZALES POLL????? Are you friggin kidding me? How deep did the Sun have to dig to find this poll??? Are there no limits to how far you'll go to find support for Marty O'Worthless?

Let's see; a dead even race in a heavily Democratic state. Advantage GOP. The supposed Democratic nominee has already spent heavily on TV ads that apparently have not influenced voters. The supposed GOP nominee hasn't aired ad #1. Again, advantage GOP. Amazing how an incredible surge by the GOP can be typified as dead even by the Sun.

Maybe I won't vote for Omalley or Ehrlich never was never the best choice anyway,Omalley broke alot of promises during the last election, Ehrlich was not any good during his first term so why should he get a second term ? are the citzens of maryland tried of the same old same old , How about someone who has never served in office , Some of you really get me with your lack of change for the better as if you voted for someone new life as you know it would end, Some of you are only hook on a two party system , this is most of the problem it is so hard for some of you to unlearn things and you have the nerve to complain about how bad things are.

Wow, the O'Malleyites are out in force today denouncing Patrick Gonzalez and Laslo Boyd as died-in-the-wool Republicans. That's just funny! Both are well known Democrats in case anyone wants to know. Once upon a time they had a Republican third partner (CA) and she left for Florida probably five or six years ago. They shoot for fairness, but they usually have the wrong election day model in my opinion that slightly favors turnout in some areas more than others.

I think the polling is pretty accurate. The election is really going to come down to voter turn out. People were fed up with Republican in 2006 and no one expected Baltimore City to turn out and vote like they did. Ehrlich was beat in 2006 but he did better than Republicans did nationally.

I attach no credence to your conclusions until I know more about the Gonzales polling organization. Who paid for the poll? Who are Gonzales' other clients? Who founded it? Who sits on its board of directors and what are their political affiliations? What corporate interests are involved? What corporate front groups may be involved? Let's have some transparency, please.

Actually it is not a "statistical tie". The margin of error goes in both directions.

"O'Malley would capture 45 percent of the vote, and Ehrlich 42 percent, with a 3.5 percentage-point margin of error, the poll shows"

Statistically O'Malley 43.5 -Ehrlich 43.5 has the same probability as O'Malley 46.5 -Ehrlich 40.5.

Not good news for Ehrlich.

Considering that Maryland is so heavily Democratic, I truly hope that Ehrlich is able to make a come back and unseat O'Malley who has been a truly lousy governor of Maryland.

omalley in doo doo

Gonzales is the best pollster in the state. Why would we want to bring back Ehrlich who was a terrible governor who spent all his time fighting with the legislature.
O'malley is just suffering from the anti-incumbent feeling in the country right now.In the meAntime I don't see HOEHE GETS O 50% UNLESS THE aa VOTERS STAY HOME.

Who cares. You're talking about the lesser of two evils. I don't like either one and neither is good for the state.

We clearly need political reform in this country so that these clowns can't keep hiding beind their respective parties.

Because of this political system we have, neither candidate will lay out his agenda with specifics so the people can actually see what they are getting with their vote.

It's time to abolish all parties, make everyone and independent and hold them accountable for their actions or lack there of.

I'll put it this way. How many of you Hillary Clinton haters would have voted for Obama if you knew that Hillary would end up in the third power seat in his adminstration. If Obama would have had to layout out his cabinet and details of his agenda, with proposed solutions for the problems facing this country, how many would have voted for him knowing what they now know. Not many based on his approval rating.

Finding out about a candidate after the election is the wrong answers.

We need Political Reform and now.

Remember, reporters from the Baltimore Sun were on the JournoList, where media members strategized for the democratic party and used their positions to push their goals, not report the news. I won't even read this article, I can't believe anything the Baltimore Sun writes anymore, they've proven themselves to have something worse than the bias which can't be avoided, an agenda.

Statistical tie?

Here's a little statistics lesson for you. Just because the two poll within the margin of error of each other doesn't mean they are tied for support. The confidence bands swing both ways. You could just as easily say that O'Malley is ahead by a wide margin. As John posted above, there is an equal likelihood that O'Malley would win by 6% (46.5-40.5%) as there is that they are tied.

For them to be tied, there would be a 33% likelihood that O'Malley's true support is 43.5% (as opposed to the mean of 45% posted by Gonzales). There would also be a 33% chance that Ehrlich's true support is 43.5% (as opposed to the 42% posted by Gonzales). For BOTH of them to be at 43.5% (a conditional probability), there is an 11% likelihood of both these conditions being satisfied.

So... No. They are not in a statistical dead heat.

Republicans dug this enormous hole we're in now, let's not forget that. They bankrupted the state and the country and they can't be trusted with power. All Repugs want is to make themselves and their cronies fat off taxpayer dollars. As far as the polling, if the 2 remain this close in the polls up to election day, then O'Malley likely wins by close to 10 points. There's a deep reservoir of hatred in Democrats' hearts for Repugs and for what they've done to the country and there's no way this Democratic state allows a Repug to get elected. Voter turnout will be large for Dems. Doesn't matter how many free commercials, errrh I mean radio shows, WBAL gives Erlich - him and his hairpiece are finished.

I don't like either one - although I hate to see another four years of O'Malley's failed leadership and poor performance - especially in the area of public safety. Heck, with the infrastructure problems the state is having Baltimore may sink into the sea and Rt. 70 may disappear under a major water main break! The crime in Maryland's eastern counties is totally out of control. Goofy judges, incompetent police and inept public officials are all part of the problem but lack of leadership at the top is the main problem. O'Malley has failed miserably when it comes to keep Marylanders safe in my book.
However, let's not forget that it was Ehrlich (O'Malley as well) that allowed illegal aliens to get state driver's licenses. Like Bill O. Ehrlich was weak on crime and public safety. Don't know if I'll even vote this November!

A young man's plan for power:

-Coddle up to the family of a prominent Maryland politician and see if he has any available daughters.
-Start dating the daughter that is most likely to become a judge.
-Move to a white neighborhood in Baltimore. You know, white people like to vote for their own.
-Become a democrat. Republicans are as prevalent in Baltimore as safe neighborhoods.
-Start a stupid band that really has minimal talent but makes you seem kind of cool.
-Take lots of steroids and wear muscle shirts while playing in the band. You will be building future political fans (young swooning women and gay dudes).
-When you have a chance to run for mayor only do it when two black guys are also running. This way they split the black vote and all the whites will vote for you.
-Practice in the mirror making that Bill Clinton empathy face (you know, the one that makes you seem like you really care).
-Accept any opportunities at the National Governor's Association related to national security. This way, you can build phony homeland security and national security credentials, despite the fact that you've never served a day in the military.
-Hope and pray that an alternative major newspaper never competes with the Sun.

As a candidate for delegate this year, when Martin Owe Malley was mayor he stop the rent freeze, lock up innocent citizens, raise property taxes, pd 1million dollars for a slogan Believe don't you people remember. I was a democrat when he was mayor, I was a republican by the time he ran for governor. He lied, compare Ehrlich to Bush and like always deceived black in Baltimore, thats why he won. Ehrlich didn't raise a tax gave Morgan & Coppin money they deserve to compete and provided more jobs for minorities (blacks & women).Now tell me who you want

As reports show the middle class is dying, our taxes out of control, small businesses dying - If we are, as a State, stupid enough to put Governor O'Malley back in office with his Obama liberal agenda to work with our liberal State Senators, we deserve our fate. I fear we will as Marylanders just don't seem to care election to election..............

Ehrlich couldn't find a legitimate job so he decided 4 years of self-promotion on WBAL would get him elected again (darn that libruhl media!!). Sorry Bob, neither you nor your hairpiece are qualified to run a popsicle stand let alone an entire state.

If Ehrlich is elected it will show 4 things:
1. We've learned nothing from the gross incompetence displayed by Repugs during the Bush/Ehrlich years.

2. Repugs will choose party over country every time. To Repugs it doesn't matter what's good for the state. They only care about bleeding the coffers dry and filling their friends pockets with taxpayer dollars. Repugs care about maintaining and profiting from power first and public service last.

3. Repugs believe whatever their media leaders tell them, they live on kool aid, they can't think for themselves and can only parrot what comes out of Sean Hannity's and Rush "the drug kingpin" Limbaugh's mouths.

4. Repugs are so easily manipulated by emotional issues, how's that gay marriage ban working out, or the constitutional amendment against flag burning, or prayer in the schools - the list is endless. Have Repug leaders EVER delivered on these issues after they get elected. I'll answer for you, NO. They just use them to manipulate their lemming-like base.

This race is close but Ehrlich was probably banking on closer polling. I've never heard of Gonzales so I'm not sure of their own convictions; but recently Rasmussen (notoriously Repub) had Ehrlich +1 meaning O'Malley is probably +4. It is near impossible for a Democratic imcumbant to lose the governorship in this state. O'Malley will win at this rate.


Thank you so much for providing a great post. I learned a lot about the topic at hand and not about hypocrisy.

Being that Tony is clearly a better statistician and pollster than anyone else, ever, I suggest a write-in for Tony this November.

Apparently, Tony has also found a miracle diet: thriving on Kool-Aid alone. Tony, please patent this assuredly scientific research immediately before someone beats you to the punch!

My favorite though, is how Tony has totally switched the actions between what he affectionately calls a "Repug" and the people that are actually doing said actions.

Ehrlich is a lobbyist who by definition works for the interests of big business, his cronies and himself. He ran the State government as a lobbyist during his ONLY term, he found a lucrative lobbying gig after he was defeated, and now he wants us to help him continue his lobbying so he can build his campaign funds to support a run for U.S. Senate or higher. Pullease!!! If you truly care about the State of Maryland, don't hand it over to Bob Ehrlich.

Things to remember:
Ehrlich is not Bush (thank God there are no Bushs in Maryland politics)
O’Malley hardly “crushed,” anyone. The Republican lost in 2006, not Ehrlich and O’Malley did not “win.” Republicans couldn’t win dog catcher that year.
As a state employee I can’t afford to be furloughed, the economic problems of the citizens will quickly become the problems of the state. I can’t vote for O’Malley, I liked him as Mayor, not as Governor. I felt like the sales tax increase was done in an underhanded way.
Ehrlich promised slots and couldn’t deliver, though that was Democrats throwing a fit. The Ehrlich years were rather sleepy and forgettable, I’m not sure what he did or how he tried to change anything. For personal reasons I can’t vote for Ehrlich. Not to mention I’m simply sickened by the way Republicans have been acting after ruining the economy during the 2000s.
I’m voting third party! A vote not cast is a vote wasted. With as much resentment towards the Republicans two years ago and towards the Democrats now, more people would do so as well. I seriously think people should look into it.

Hey Woodie,
We never agree with anyone who is named after the make-up of his head.

We all saw how he and his chosen have ruined Baltimore City. When he won the election in 2006, I said he'll do the same thing to the state (which he did). He took a surplus, turned it into a deficit and at the same time screamed, "Give me more" by raising sin taxes, sales taxes, and getting slots (which wont do any good now that our neighbors have tables).

Owe Malley is a joke - a bad joke. A poor politician. Yack Yack Yack is about all he can do because any promises he makes in his Yack won't happen.

He ruined the city. He ruined the state and FEAR ..... He wants to run for PRESIDENT.

If O'Malley is elected it will show 4 things:

1. We've learned nothing from the gross incompetence displayed by Dumocrats by the corrupt US Congress and Socialist President.

2. Dumocrats will choose party over country every time. To Dumocrats, it doesn't matter what's good for the state. They only care about bleeding the coffers dry and filling their friends pockets with taxpayer dollars. Dumocrats only care about maintaining and profiting from power first and public service last. (Dare I say Labor Unions

3. Dumocrats believe whatever their media leaders tell them, they live on kool aid, they can't think for themselves and can only parrot what comes out of ABC , CBS and NBC.

4. Dumocrats are so easily manipulated by emotional issues, like gay marriage, the right to burn the flag, keeping God and moraity out of schools - the list is endless.

Have Dumocrat leaders EVER delivered on these issues after they get elected. I'll answer for you, NO. They just use them to manipulate their lemming-like base. How's that Hope and Change working out for you?

O'bama, O'Malley, O'Sh*t!

Yeah I agree that there are politics that corrupt they care only their selves not for our country.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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