« Balto. Co. police criticize candidate's use of badge | Main | Balto. Co. police union endorses Bartenfelder »

August 24, 2010

O'Malley edges Ehrlich in poll; Murphy low show

Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley is posting a slight lead over Republican former Gov Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. in a poll out this morning.

The OpinionWorks survey, conducted for Center Maryland, shows O'Malley garnering 47 percent of the vote and Ehrlich 41, with about a 4 percentage-point margin of error. The pollster also asked about the Republican primary -- the first time the question was posed to voters and the results made public.

Brian Murphy, a Montgomery County investor and political newcomer who landed Sarah Palin's endorsement, would win 13 percent of the vote to Ehrlich's commanding 75 percent. The primary poll questions, the results of which were released yesterday, had an 8.5-percentage-point margin of error. 

The survey probed the "Palin effect." In blue Maryland, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 2-to-1 and Republicans are arguably more centrist than in other states, Palin's backing seems to do Murphy more harm than good, according to the poll results.

Of likely Republican primary voters, 11 percent said Palin’s endorsement made it more likely to vote for Murphy, and 15 percent said it made them less likely to support Murphy. Two-thirds said it made no difference.

“If you’re a Republican in Maryland, the more likely you are to vote in the primary, the less likely you are to like Palin’s endorsement,” Steve Raabe, OpinionWorks president and founder, told Center Maryland. “She cuts against the hard-core primary voter.”

The telephone survey was conducted Aug. 13-18. It included 600 "likely" general election voters statewide and, for the Murphy-Ehrlich question, 132 "likely Republican voters who said they are certain or probable to vote in the September Republican primary election."

Other results:

* "Certain" voters favor O'Malley 45 percent to Ehrlich's 41 percent. "Likely" voters prefer O’Malley 48 percent to 40 percent.

* 49 percent of those polled approve of the job O'Malley is doing, compared to 39 percent who disapprove.

* 40 percent say Maryland is headed in the right direction, and 42 percent say it's on the wrong track.

* 43 percent of likely voters say they'd vote for more Democrats in state and local fall elections, and 31 percent say Republicans.

Annapolis-based OpinionWorks has polled for media companies, including The Baltimore Sun. Center Maryland, which paid for this poll, bills itself as a "nonprofit media outlet ... with straight-down-the-middle reporting."

Many of its six founders, however, have Democratic ties and donate to O'Malley and other Democrats. Three of the founders are employed by a public relations shop launched two years ago by Steve Kearney, O'Malley's former communications director, and Damian O'Doherty, a former aide to Democratic Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. 

More Center Maryland/OpinionWorks poll results -- focusing on the economy -- will be released tomorrow. The entire poll has not been published, but details about the questions can be found on Center Maryland's web site summaries (Murphy-Ehrlich and Ehrlich-O'Malley)

This marks OpinionWorks' first Maryland gubernatorial poll this year. A Rassmussen Reports poll out last week, showed O'Malley and Ehrlich essentially tied. Earlier this summer, The Sun examined the roll of partisan pollsters in the governor's race.

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 8:38 AM | | Comments (39)
Categories: Horserace


The individual candidates have the most accurate polling. But judging from the current campaign climate, My guess is this poll is pretty accurate. If Gov O'Malley's internal polling showed a close race, he'd be running a barrage of negative ads. But by the fact that O'Malley has remained largely positive, and Ehrlich has failed to attract national attention and money, this is probably still a 6-10 point race in favor of Gov O'Malley.

I am not saying O'Malley is perfect and the tax payers need to keep an eye on him and the legislature, but picking Ehrlich would be going backward not forward. He had his chance and if he would have performed in a bi-partisan manner he might have been re-elected. It is a sad state of the Republican Party in Maryland that they have so many retreads trying again.

If there is a 4 point margin of error, and it 41 to 47 then it is in fact within the margin.

Not likely for Ehrlich or anything but it amazes me how many times reporters do not understand MoE

How exactly is MOM pushing Maryland forward

I'm voting for Murphy in the Primary and if he doesn't win O'Malley in the General.

Afmcalax is correct, Ehlich had his shot and he is too partisan to make government work in MD, the General Assembly would just fight him again each step of the way.

I don't necessarily like O'Malley but he will be better than Ehrlich if Murphy loses in the Primary.

Palin's backing exposed tax and spend Ehrlich. Tat is the real story. Principle (Murphy) over lifelong lying politician (Ehrlich)

Trash poll....look at who runs this "non profit" organization!!! And where are the internals???? Figures this SUN would publish this crap!

Every other poll shows a statistical dead heat between the two. Maryland is like 70% to 30% in democrat to republican. Ehrlich has not even run a TV ad yet, but it's still anyone's race. I agree with GO Terps. The Sunpaper hopes desperately that O'Malley wins and they are going to do everyything in their power to see to it, including finding the most "favorable" polls and highlighting it in it's paper. Come November, we will see the "real" truth.

Ok, another Poll, can anyone give me a reason to vote for O'Malley? Therefore the real question is: WHY SHOULD I VOTE FOR HIM ? Thanks.

Tony is using Ehrlich math. 41 to 47 is outside the margin of error.

I would just like ONE of the O'Loser backers writing on this blog to tell us EXACTLY what MOM has done for the state of MD? Other than the fact that he's a democrat in a predominately democratic (still haven't figured that one out) state, I can't think of one constructive thing he has done in his time in office. Someone, just give us one REAL fact that supports this loser!

I challenge just ONE of the so-called O'Loser supporters on this blog to tell us just ONE thing constructive MOM has done in his time in office. And by constructive, I mean something that has benefited us all? The fact that he is a dem in a predominately dem state does not count as being constructive!

Don't like MOM at all, voted for Ehrlich last two times, but the other commentators are correct, Ehrlich just can't work with the MD political system, so electing him would accomplish nothing more than to keep the status quo. Until the Baltimore policitical machine is defeated, MD will remain a corrupt political wasteland, second only to Chicago.

Anyone who has listen to Brian Murphy speak, knows he is the better choice of the two Republican candidates.
Murphy vs. Owe'Malley would give the voters a much better divergence of opinion and ideas on all the issues confronting our state and if you take the time to listen to Brian Murphy, you may be pleasantly surprised!

It is unfortunate that Marylanders are not giving Brian Murphy a serious look. He has an Undergraduate Degree in Economics from the University of Maryland, at College Park and an MBA with a Concentration in Finance from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. The majority of votes are destine to go toward one of two lawyers, O'Malley or Ehrlich. How many math classes do you think either one of them took?
Almost every poll I have come across, lists Maryland as one of most expensive places to live, the highest taxes, least business friendly, and worst financial conditions. Nope, still going to vote for a politician with a license to practice law.

WOW or is that simply MOM upside down? The MOM team should not be overly encouraged by the results of this poll. Even if they win, thousands of Maryland democrats are not happy with the MOM's team performance, priorities and fiscal choices. Lame duck status usually starts during the last 12-18 months of a term, if MOM wins it just might start on the day he is inaugurated.

Rob Higgs Jr. is apparently using Maryland Public School math. Rob, you owe Tony an apology. With the intellect of the Maryland voter, no wonder O'Mally is still in the race.

AFMCALAX: Uh just how did Ehrlich "have his chance" when Miller and Busch and the Dem. majority in the legislature stopped just about everything he tried to do? They only came around to slots after he let office because they did not want anything he did to improve the economy and help his chances of getting re-elected.

Tony does not use Erhlich anything and is a huge Governor O'Malley supporter. However within the margin of error, technically needs to double the Margin.

That said, O'Malley is going to win in November, four years was not long enough for people to forget Ehrlich.

OK Higgy baby lets do the math. A margin of error equal to plus or minus 4 means you could subtract four from 47 and add those votes to the other guy. That means Ehrlich 45 and MOM 43. Regardless, Marylanders are in for four more years of bad leadership.

Actually Rob, a 4% margin of error dictates that Ehrlich could actually be leading O'Malley 45 % to 43%. Maybe you should go read up on polling.


What does it take for you? The article clearly states the relationship the founders of OpinionWorks have with the dems. It is news that needs to be reported and the Sun responsibly noted the potential conflict just has done in the past with Rasmussen. Stop the knee jerk reaction and read the whole article before you post!

afmcalax , the minute that MOM is re-elected, taxes will be raised at a huge rate, because MOM is an economic idiot. Enjoy paying more, because you will.

If the people of Maryland re-elect O'Malley, they deserve what they get, i.e. More taxes on top of more taxes. When will the people of this state learn. Sigh!!

This quote is disturbing...
"Annapolis-based OpinionWorks has polled for media companies, including The Baltimore Sun. Center Maryland, which paid for this poll, bills itself as a "nonprofit media outlet ... with straight-down-the-middle reporting."

Many of its six founders, however, have Democratic ties and donate to O'Malley and other Democrats."

The above statement alone basically discounts the accuracy of this poll.


The Sun previously referred to the Rasmussen poll as a "conservative Republican leaning poll" attempting to discount those results in the first few lines of the story yet refuses to characterize this group as a "liberal Democrat leaning poll" or question the results and buries it at the end of the story. Go figure. In fact The Sun attempts to bolster the results here with the phrase "straight-down-the-middle reporting" while at the same time contradicting itself by basically admitting it's the closest thing to an internal O'Malley poll as you could possibly get! This is exactly why I think Ehrlich will win. People are just fed up with all this cronyism and shenanigans and news organizations like The Sun attempting to tell people how they should think or vote.

This is why less and less people trust the reporting of The Baltimore Sun.
The bias is just so blatant, it's unbelievable at times.


All the anti MOM conments are your typical anger GOP comments.Tell me 4 things erhlich did in his 4 years beside flush tax and talk shows.He is a lazy governor

A 4 point margin of error from 47-41 means O'Malley leading from 49-39 to 45-43.

No wonder Ehrlich brought us massive fee, tax, insurance and BGE increases.

Well one big difference between the two for me is that Ehrlich spent a lot of his energy as governor trying to sell protected government lands to private developers, thereby betraying the public trust that he inherited. On the other hand, OMalley has used the current devaluation of real estate prices to purchase land for the people of Maryland at reduced prices to preserve it from development forever.

Gov. Bob hasn't told me how he's going to restore my salary I lost thru furlough days or money cut from the counties. All he talks about is cutting taxes, which will cut revenues further. He's all smoke and mirrors.


Here are more than four things just off the op of my head that Bob Ehrlich accomplished as Governor. I'm sure more can be cited if you have the time:
-He retained the 5% sales tax.
-He signed the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Act.
-He finally got the ICC funded after several decades of exclusively one-party rule. If you drive South from Baltimore on 95 (between Laurel and Beltsville) you can look up and see the overpass.
-Unemployment dropped to 4.1% while he was governor.
-He named an African-American as his running mate. For all the talk of the Democrats being the party of inclusion and diversity, they had never before elevated an African-American to the top of a state ticket.
-He did not furlough state employees.

the people of Maryland need to follow the rest of the country and insert all new leaders in office. vote out incumbents and people who had office before. we need to send a message to them. LIsten to us or loose your job.

"we need to send a message to them. LIsten to us or loose your job."

And you feel we send this message by voting based on incumbancy instead of if they listened?

"Certain" voters favor O'Malley 45 percent to Ehrlich's 41 percent. "Likely" voters prefer O’Malley 48 percent to 40 percent."

Boobie, things will only get worse for you, "guy," from here on out to election day Nov. 2nd. Save us all the barrage of your negative ads and save the MD Republican Party some cash for candidates with at least a chance of winning.

You had your opportunity to lead this state from 2002-2006, and the voters overwhelmingly said NO (you lost in Baltimore City AND County, Howard, Montgomery, PG, and Charles). You couldn't even win in your own home county of Baltimore.

What makes you think you can simply turn up and run for Governor after four years? Where have you been and what have you been doing for Maryland in those years other than whine on WBAL every Saturday? If you'd at least done something constructive in the way of public service, possibly lead a not-for-profit to help small businesses, yada yada yada, you might have something to “add” to that pitiful 4-year record as Gov.. But, alas, you spent your time as a Lobbyist stuffing $$ in your pants pockets as fast as you could.

Given the national voter mood right now, most experts would expect the polls in MD to be pretty tight. But alas, Poor Boobie, they are not. Only 70 days until judgment day!

And Tony ("then it is in fact within the margin,") you are technically correct. However, that's cold comfort to your "guy" Boobie right now. As well known as he is to all Marylanders, he should be within 1-2 pts of O'Malley for any real shot at winning. Just hanging around for two more months isn't going to help narrow that huge lead. BTW, Tony Statistician, if the election were held today, a 48%-40% victory for O'Malley would be called a landslide! Four years ago the spread was 53% to 46%. That margin looks awfully familiar!

Gosh, I can't wait until 8PM on Nov. 2nd! I can already hear, "O'Malley is declared the winner in Maryland."

Can anyone who is voting for O'Malley tell me what he did for Baltimore City as councilman or mayor when or better yet tell me one thing he has done to make Maryland a better place to live over the last 4 years. I am a democrate, but one who votes for the best candidate and it is not O'Malley!

Joe, it is YOU who should "read up on polling". Or at least get some statistics training. The margin of error is a confidence interval. The "rating" for each is the mean response that they got. This means there is a 95% likelihood that the poll results are within 4% of the mean they report. This means that there is only a 2.5% chance that Ehrlich's support is more than 4 percentage points above the mean reported here (and 2.5% chance that it is more than 4% less).

And for it to be 45 to 43 Ehrlich, then there would have to be a 2.5% probability that O'Malley's support is 4% less than what is reported. To take these two conditional probabilities, you multiply them. .025 * .025 = .0625% probability that among the population, Ehrlich leads O'Malley by 45% to 43%.

Brian Murphy is the ONLY credible candidate running. We gave Erhlich a chance, we gave O'Malley a chance and all they did was promote themselves - just like Obama. Erhlich refuses to debate Murphy because he knows it will be his waterloo if he does. Murphy is pro-life, anti-illegal immigration and has the necessary experience and resolve to balance the budget. Neither Erhlich NOR O'Malley were successful at that. Do we want to give either one of them another term to screw up? I sure don't. Don't let Sarah Palin's endorsement scare you off. The only reason she supports him is because he says he won't raise taxes, and she's an anti-tax advocate...that's all the third party RINO Conservatives care about. She probably doesn't know anything else about him. Murphy's s not a third party Conservative, he's a true Republican and they're the only ones who are going to be able to get us out of the mess we're in. The true Republicans are the Paul Reveres of our time.

Woosie: you are factually incorrect.

Ehrlich did not lose Baltimore County. He won Baltimore County by about 9,000 votes in 2006 (and by about 60,000 votes in 2002). Here are the results listed on the Maryland State Board of Elections web site:

Secondly, the OpinionWorks poll said "50-50 voters" O'M leads 48-40, "likely voters" O'M leads 47-41, and people who are "certain" they will vote O'M leads 45-44 (not 45-41). So you were wrong about 45-41; secondly, the translation is that the more people know, the more they've made their decision, the more they swing over to Ehrlich. But no one has reported this conclusion based on even a partisan poll result.

So before you lecture people on getting things correct, why don't you take your own advice.

I'll tell you what O'Malley has done for Maryland:

1. He invested more than 5 billion dollars into public schools
2. He froze tuition for the past 4 years for state colleges
3. He reduced violent crime to - lowest it's been in more than 30 years
4. under his leadership, MD has been voted #1 for public schools - 2 years in a row.
5. he has been recognized as a leader in restoring the Chesapeak Bay
These accomplishments speak for themselves!

The not so "not for profit" skewed the questions to make the results of Murphy vs. Ehrlich work. They know they can beat Ehrlich again but Murphy is an unknown and a stronger conservative - a wild card shall we say. With Ehrlich vs Omalley you get a mudslinging contest with no content and a bunch of TV ads. With Murphy vs Omalley they are going to have to prep MOM because there will be hard questions. I'm voting against the lesser of two evils matchup. Im voting Murphy.

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Verification (needed to reduce spam):


Headlines from The Baltimore Sun
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.
Most Recent Comments
Sign up for FREE local news alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for local news text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Breaking News newsletter
When a big news event breaks, we'll e-mail you the basics with links to up-to-date details.
Sign up

Blog updates
Recent updates to news blogs
 Subscribe to this feed
Charm City Current
Stay connected