Marylanders give Steele 19 percent approval rating
Only one in five Maryland voters has a favorable opinion of Michael S. Steele, the former lieutenant governor who now chairs the Republican National Committee, according to a survey released this week by Public Policy Polling.
More than half, meanwhile, have an unfavorable opinion of Steele, and he would lose a hypothetical rematch of his 2006 Senate race with Democrat Benjamin L. Cardin by 30 percentage points, according to the survey. Based in Raleigh, N.C., Public Policy Polling is headed by Democratic pollster Dean Debnam.
Opposition to Steele is particularly strong among fellow African-Americans, the demographic he was supposed to help attract to the Republican Party. Just 6 percent have a favorable opinion of him; 73 percent have an unfavorable opinion. In a rematch of the Senate race, African-Americans would vote for Cardin by an 89-3 margin.
The telephone survey of 569 Maryland voters was conducted July 10-12, before Steele issued his statement Wednesday defending Tea Party activists from accusations of tolerating racism but after his comments about President Barack Obama and the war in Afghanistan.
Those comments, in which Steele described the eight-year-old war as “a war of Obama’s choosing” and said it was not “something that the United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in,” led to calls from the conservative Weekly Standard and on redstate.org for his resignation as RNC chairman.
Steele is most popular among Republicans: 42 percent have favorable opinions of him; 31 percent view have unfavorable opinions. The splits are 17/53 among independents and 8/68 among Democrats.
Forty-two percent of voters approve of Cardin’s job performance, while 28 percent disapprove, according to the poll. Fifty-one percent would vote to reelect him in 2012, while 33 percent would support a Republican opponent.