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October 1, 2010

Cook Political Report moves MD race to 'toss up'

National political analyst Charlie Cook disregarded a recent Washington Post poll giving Gov. Martin O'Malley an 11 point advantage among likely voters in his rematch with former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich and yesterday moved the contest from "leans Democrat" to "toss up."

In his Sept. 30 report, Cook stresses that both candidates have said the race will be close, both the RGA and the DGA have poured money into the state, and that this year O'Malley has the "political winds blowing in his face."

"It looks increasingly like the race will end up being a single-digit contest," Cook wrote.

It could also be that Cook is hedging his bets, as he's nearly emptied out all of his other categories and has piled 17 other governor's races in the toss up category. That also shows there's considerable competition for national money.

The report hardly represents a consensus view: Real Clear Politics has Maryland in the leans Democrat column, showing that the last three polls put O'Malley ahead by various margins. RCP guesses that O'Malley has a +5.7 advantage over Ehrlich.

Still, some Maryland prognosticators are scratching their heads about the Post's poll, with Todd Eberly, the interim director at St. Mary's College's Center for the Study of Democracy hypothesizing that the paper's pollster overstated likely turnout. (Eberly e-mailed to say he just chatted with the Post's pollster Jon Cohen and the conversation that confirmed his belief that the survey was flawed. Eberly says The Post overestimated Democratic turnout in their model by assuming it would match 2008 numbers and understated GOP turnout by assuming it would be weaker than 2008. "Not likely," Eberly says of those assumptions.)

It is also worth noting, as The Sun's Andy Green did on his Second Opinion blog, that the Post didn't veer from the methodology used for their May poll which showed 47-47 split among likely voters, meaning at the very least the trend line is one Ehrlich will want to turn around if he hopes to win.
Posted by Annie Linskey at 8:30 AM | | Comments (12)
Categories: Horserace


Two points:
First, The Post used the same methodology when it showed Creigh Deeds trailing Bob McDonald by four points the weekend before he lost by 18%.

Second: Bob Ehrlich had a 57% approval rating going into the 2006 election and got swamped by an anti-Bush, anti-GOP wave.

O'Malley may be facing the same type of wave against one-party rule in Annapolis. Perhaps that's why he went negative early and often.

Bob Ehrlich is no Bob McDonald (sic), Scott Brown or Christie. Bob Ehlrich is a failed one-term loser. Charlie Cook is worng as usual. Put down the fork Charlie.

Of course it will be single digits, but it will a loss for Ehrlich.

The Washington Post may have missed the VA Governor's race, but they were closer than any other polls in the 2006 Marland races. In the Senate race, their last poll was 54/43 in favor of Cardin, and the results were 54/44. In the Governor's race, they had Ehrlich 45 and O'Malley 55; the final number was Ehrlich 46, O'Mailley 53.

The Post Poll does seem out of line in the magnitude (yes, single digits; my guess is 3 or 4), but it's not a toss-up either.

18 governor races are a "toss-up".
Toss-up defined as Charlie Cook is clueless.

The WaPo poll is the first poll released since Ehrlich publicly disrespected Brian Murphy and his supporters. Given Brian Murphy's 25% showing in the Maryland Republican primary, that alone could explain the shift.

Ehrlich's recent desperate effort to create a controversy with DLLR shows that his internal numbers aren't looking great. He knows he's not getting traction. And he's run a surprisingly poor campaign, lacking any clear new vision.

O'Malley has run an excellent campaign. He got out in front of Ehrlich and defined him. He's run a series of hard hitting ads, combined with feel good ads, and he's really done a nice job.

If O'Malley can turn out his voters, he will win by the same margin he did four years ago.

I agree with anonymous, Bobby E is in desperate mode, not Eligible for rehire.

I have been a Republican for many years. Can't go with Ehrlich. Basically, think he is a phoney. I'll go with O'Malley, who has done a good job in difficult times. Many Republican friends feel the same.

Polls are foolish. Turnout is the most important factor this year. It won't take many to turn 95% of the races either way. Instead of quoting polls journalists, politicos, etc. should be stressing the power of the voter.

Actually, we now know the Post did deviate from their May poll substantially because they called likely voters as certain/probably in May.

Hey Jay I can do that too:
I have been a DEMOCRAT for many years. Can't go with O'MALLEY. Basically, think he is a phoney. I'll go with EHRLICH, who has done a good job in difficult times. Many DEMOCRAT friends feel the same.

We all know you are a Democrat, why even try? Also, I highly doubt you know numerous Republicans who will vote for O'Malley. Seeing what the current governor has done to the state, most republicans who don't like Ehrlich well hold their noses and vote. (Myself included)

Omalley is a phony everybody in the City voted for him in his first bid for the Governors Office in order to get him out of the Mayor's position, an individual who falsifies information for self gratification does not deserve to be in public office, just look back over the years of his public service then you will see. There are a lot of unanswered questions regarding the policy moves that have been made.

Ehrlich clearly is afraid he will win. Who would give up an easy ride and $750k per yr for the aggravation of Annapolis and $200k. From what I have seen he does not seem all that enthusiastic about the campaign.

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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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