New poll says not so good…..
Maryland Republicans have been led to believe since way back when the Rule 11 dirty tricks occurred that only former Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich could beat the incumbent Governor Martin O’Malley. Now comes the shocking news that a new poll has Ehrlich behind by 11 percentage points!
Of course we have to consider the source—The Washington Post (reporter John Wagner et al)—but I would think this news has the Ehrlich camp shaking in its boots 5 weeks before election day.
***Update: Two readers have warned me not to trust Washington Post polls!***
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has opened a significant lead over former Republican governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. as newly energized Democrats have turned what appeared to be a dead heat into a double-digit advantage for O’Malley, a Washington Post poll has found.
Less than five weeks before the election, 52 percent of those most likely to vote support O’Malley, and 41 percent back Ehrlich. In May, likely voters were divided evenly between the contenders.
Ehrlich has the support of almost every GOP voter in the state, and he is winning independents by a wide margin in his effort to reclaim the Maryland governorship he lost four years ago. But that combined slice of the electorate, which is propelling outsider insurgents elsewhere, appears to be too little in Maryland. The former governor and congressman is failing to draw the cross-party appeal that vaulted him to victory in 2002.
Mr. Wagner, everyone knows that Bob Ehrlich is no “outsider insurgent.” I hate to say it, but we told you so (on a whole bunch of levels)! Maryland could have joined other supposedly liberal northeastern states and be experiencing an exciting campaign similar to the one in New York where outsider gubernatorial candidate and businessman Carl Paladino is challenging insider and nearly coronated Andrew Cuomo; and the one in Delaware where Christine O’Donnell, the outsider, beat RINO Mike Castle, if it weren’t for the likes of the Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun and their virtual media blackout (until near the end) of the insurgent Brian Murphy campaign.
I’m not saying that Pallidino and O’Donnell are going to win (I hope they do), but even their presence in the race representing the Republican Party and the fact that the establishment Republicans are being shaken to their cores, is good for the country and will lead, I’m confident, to more “outsiders” running in the future.
From the WaPo story on the new poll the following quote from a Democrat voter tells the whole story. In a year when incumbents are likely out and newcomers in, a race involving an incumbent against another incumbent (4 years removed) comes down to this:
Nancy Powell, 73, a registered Democrat and poll respondent who lives in Bethesda, fits the profile of a voter Ehrlich had hoped to win over.
Powell said she is only “moderately enthusiastic” about O’Malley and might have considered voting for a Republican for governor if the right candidate had emerged. O’Malley “hasn’t really captured my imagination,” Powell said, “but he seems to have been pretty steady in a difficult time.”
This is a year when voters wanted their imaginations captured, and alas Maryland will be left out of the fun.
A pox on both their houses: Washington Post editorial just confirms what Maryland insurgents have been saying since January.
I firmly believe, and it has been my contention for months, that Governor O’Malley wanted to run against Bob Ehrlich (not Brian Murphy) and the mainstream media helped make that happen. This is what the papers knew and so did their Democrat friends—there isn’t much difference between Ehrlich and O’Malley on taxes and spending. [Update: Not much difference on immigration either, here.]
Of course from the viewpoint of the editorial board of the Washington Post, where they see nothing wrong with increasing taxes, their praise for both Ehrlich and O’Malley on the fiscal front just confirms what conservatives and Brian Murphy supporters have said all along—Bob Ehrlich is willing to increase taxes, he has done it before!
Editorial from the Washington Post yesterday:
THE RACE FOR governor in Maryland has reached a strange juncture: Each candidate smells blood in the other’s most responsible, and in some cases unavoidable, acts of fiscal prudence.
The issue is taxes, and the heart of the debate is that both candidates — the incumbent, Democrat Gov. Martin O’Malley, and his Republican rival and predecessor, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. — raised them. The truth is that both did so for good reasons: to pay for cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay (Mr. Ehrlich); more health coverage for the needy (Mr. O’Malley) and a massive, unfunded and long-term expansion in education funding enacted before either took office (both Mr. Ehrlich and Mr. O’Malley). Having increased state revenue to cover equally pressing priorities and, in the case of education, an unavoidable obligation, each candidate is now beating up the other for it.
In a more honest political world — in other words, one that doesn’t exist — Mr. Ehrlich and Mr. O’Malley would acknowledge the needs and obligations each inherited, acknowledge the other’s fortitude in meeting them and agree to a ceasefire on the issue. Instead, each suggests the other’s record proves he is an untrustworthy steward of state finances.
Read it all! The WaPo goes on to list the Ehrlich tax increases the last time he ran the state.
A scandal to energize voters? I doubt it
Also, yesterday, there was much excitement in the Erhlich ranks when it was revealed that the O’Malley Labor Department first posted, then quickly removed, an economic report that did not match O’Malley’s rhetoric. You can see the ‘scandal’ timeline breathlessly reported at Red Maryland, here, yesterday, and reported at the Washington Post (Metro section) yesterday morning, here.
It might be juicy stuff for political junkies to chew on, but it won’t capture many imaginations nor sway many voters.
****Update October 1st: More here on the poll.