Democrat holds 48%-42% lead in poll CAMPAIGN 1994

October 19, 1994|By John W. Frece | John W. Frece,Sun Staff Writer

Democrat Parris N. Glendening continues to hold a slight lead over Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey in the race for governor, according to a new poll of Maryland voters.

The poll, released yesterday, found that the Prince George's County executive leads Mrs. Sauerbrey 48 percent to 42 percent, with 10 percent undecided.

The survey was conducted for The Sun and other news organizations by Mason-Dixon Political Media Research of Columbia.

Despite a 2-to-1 Democratic advantage in voter registration, the race appears so competitive that Mr. Glendening might be able to stave off a late charge from Mrs. Sauerbrey only by turning out voters in three populous and heavily Democratic jurisdictions -- Baltimore, Prince George's County and Montgomery County -- said Mason-Dixon President Brad Coker.

That is because yesterday's poll, like one last month that gave Mr. Glendening an edge of 47 percent to 40 percent, shows Mrs. Sauerbrey leading in every region of the state except for those three jurisdictions.

Sauerbrey spokeswoman Carol L. Hirschburg said that, given the poll's margin of error of 3.5 percentage points either way, the race is "a dead heat." She said the numbers show that Mr. Glendening's lavish spending on a television advertising campaign attacking Mrs. Sauerbrey has failed.

"We feel the momentum continues to be with us," she said. "Polls don't really bother us one way or another because polling has never accurately reflected Ellen's support in this campaign. In the primary, she was always underrated."

Glendening camp is calm

However, the Glendening campaign said that the new poll is consistent with last month's Mason-Dixon poll, with its own polls that give the Democrat a "double-digit" lead, and with a Washington Post poll last weekend that showed Mr. Glendening with a 53-percent-to-37-percent advantage.

"You need to look at the range of polls taken," said Glendening spokesman David Seldin. "I think the Sauerbrey campaign would rather be on our side of the numbers than the side that they're on."

As the upset winner in the Sept. 13 Republican primary, Mrs. Sauerbrey attracted considerable post-primary attention, which may have given her "a bounce" among voters, Mr. Coker said.

Turnout could be key

"She got whatever bounce she was going to get," he said. "Now [her campaign] has to hunker down and fight for whatever is still up in the air. It will really swing on turnout, I think."

Mr. Glendening is especially counting on a heavy turnout among black voters in Baltimore and in Prince George's County.

The poll shows that he has a commanding lead over Mrs. Sauerbrey among black voters statewide, 83 percent to 8 percent.

Among voters of all races in Baltimore, he leads Mrs. Sauerbrey 70 percent to 20 percent. And in Prince George's, he leads 69 percent to 23 percent.

But in both of those predominantly Democratic jurisdictions, most races usually are decided in the Democratic primary. Often there are no Republican challengers in the general election, or so few that Democrats may feel they have little reason to come out and vote again on Nov. 8.

Hot local races

By contrast, in most of the suburban and rural jurisdictions where Mrs. Sauerbrey is running strong, there are dozens of hotly contested local races that could bring voters to the polls.

Mr. Seldin said that the Glendening camp is well aware of the need to get voters to the polls.

"We're working hard to make sure our supporters know the stakes in this race, and we'll keep working hard right through until 8 o'clock [when the polls close] on Nov. 8," he said.

"We have an extensive organization that is working at the grass roots, making phone calls, passing out literature and putting up signs."

Even with a big turnout in Prince George's and Baltimore, Mr. Glendening still must do well in Montgomery County to offset the expected Sauerbrey victories elsewhere.

Montgomery outcome vital

The poll found that Mr. Glendening leads in Montgomery 57 percent to 33 percent, but he must win there by at least that margin to have a chance, Mr. Coker said.

The tempo of the two campaigns has been picking up in recent weeks as the two candidates have slugged it out in dueling news conferences and TV ads.

Mrs. Sauerbrey, the Republican leader of the Maryland House, has attempted to paint Mr. Glendening as just another tax-and-spend Democratic liberal and frequently refers to him as "Parris Spendening." She has pledged to be tough on crime and has promised to roll back state income taxes by 24 percent over four years if elected.

Mr. Glendening has replied by focusing on Mrs. Sauerbrey's positions against gun control and abortion rights for women, characterizing her as a right-wing extremist. He says her tax cut plan would rob the state of $2 billion in needed revenue over four years and decimate school and social programs and other government services on which Marylanders depend.

The poll found that Mrs. Sauerbrey's support is strongest among Republicans, men and whites, while Mr. Glendening is leading among Democrats, women and blacks.

The candidates "are starting to hit each other harder than they were a couple weeks ago," Mr. Coker said. "The turnout will be very decisive."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.