The Maryland Poll

January 11, 2004

The Maryland Poll, conducted for The Sun and SunSpot.net by Bethesda-based Potomac Inc., depicts some of the complex choices facing the General Assembly as it convenes for its annual 90-day legislative session this week. The poll of 1,200 likely voters was conducted by telephone Jan. 2 through Monday. It has a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points.

1. Generally, do you approve or disapprove of the way Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. is handling his job as governor of Maryland?

o Approve: 56%

o Disapprove: 28%

o Not sure: 17%

2. I would like to read you four specific things a governor might do. For each one, please tell me whether you think Gov. Ehrlich is doing an excellent, good, fair or poor job in that area.

Keeping his campaign promises

o Excellent: 7%

o Good: 34%

o Fair: 28%

o Poor: 15%

o Not sure: 16%

Getting things done

o Excellent: 8%

o Good: 34%

o Fair: 32%

o Poor: 16%

o Not sure: 10%

Handling state's budget shortfall

o Excellent: 7%

o Good: 31%

o Fair: 27%

o Poor: 23%

o Not sure: 12%

Changing the tone in Annapolis

o Excellent: 8%

o Good: 28%

o Fair: 26%

o Poor: 14%

o Not sure: 23%

3. What, in your opinion, is the most important challenge facing Maryland today? I mean the one you would most like to see the governor and legislature do something about?

o Education/Schools: 26%

o Budget shortfall/State's fiscal problems: 21%

o Economy/Jobs: 8%

o Crime/Criminal justice/Drugs: 6%

o Taxes too high/Cut Taxes: 6%

o Environment/Chesapeake Bay: 5%

o Traffic/Transportation/Roads/Mass transit: 4%

o Health care: 3%

o Slots (for): 2%

o Welfare/Social services/Help those in need: 2%

o Slots (against): 1%

o Too much growth/Development: 1%

o Too much control by Democrats/Liberals: 1%

o Government fraud/Mismanagement: 1%

o Other: 5%

o Not sure: 6%

4. From what you have seen, do you think the economy in Maryland is: Getting better, getting worse or staying about the same?

o Better: 30%

o Worse: 18%

o Same: 50%

o Not sure: 3%

5. And what about your own situation? Are you and your family financially better off, worse off or about the same as four years ago?

o Better: 29%

o Worse: 17%

o Same: 52%

o Not sure: 2%

6. When you think about your retirement, will your own pension or retirement savings be enough, or do you worry you may not have enough money for retirement?

o Enough: 44%

o Worry not enough: 48%

o Not sure: 8%

7. Should the state work hard to protect the environment, even if it might cost some jobs, or is it more important to grow the economy, even if it hurts the environment?

o Protect environment: 59%

o Grow economy: 20%

o Do both (Volunteered response): 13%

o Not sure: 8%

8. The Chesapeake Bay agreement recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Looking back, do you think this agreement has played an important role in making the bay cleaner, or has it not made much of a difference?

o Important role: 42%

o Not much difference: 37%

o Not sure: 20%

9. How serious is the problem of crime in your neighborhood? Would you say it is very serious, somewhat serious or not much of a problem at all?

o Very serious: 8%

o Somewhat serious: 25%

o Not much of a problem: 66%

o Not sure: 1%

10. Do you favor or oppose the death penalty?

o Favor: 53%

o Depends (Volunteered response): 11%

o Oppose: 34%

o Not sure: 3%

11. As you may know, the trial of sniper Lee Boyd Malvo was moved to Virginia because Maryland does not have a death penalty for minors. For especially severe cases like this, should Maryland's death penalty be extended to minors, or should minors never be executed for a crime?

o Extend to minors: 46%

o Never execute: 43%

o Not sure: 11%

12. Do you favor or oppose the so-called Inter-County Connector, or ICC, a new road from Interstate 270 near Gaithersburg to I-95 near Laurel?

o Favor: 53%

o Oppose: 14%

o Not sure: 33%

13. Do you favor or oppose allowing slot machines in Maryland?

o Favor: 52%

o Depends (Volunteered response): 4%

o Oppose: 39%

o Not sure: 4%

14. No matter what your position is on slots, if they were approved, should slots be confined to horse racing tracks, be permitted at major tourist destinations such as Baltimore's Inner Harbor, or should they be kept away from urban areas in specially built facilities?

o Confined to tracks: 39%

o Away from urban areas: 32%

o Major tourist destinations: 16%

o Not sure: 13%

15. And if slots were approved, would it be worth using millions of dollars of the revenue a year to help the horse racing industry, or would you rather see that money go to the state for other priorities?

o All to the state for other priorities: 83%

o Millions to help racing industry: 8%

o Not sure: 9%

16. Have you been to a horse track in the past year?

o Yes: 16%

o No: 84%

o Not sure/Refused: 0%

17. Have you traveled out of Maryland to play slot machines in the past year?

o Yes: 24%

o No: 76%

o Not sure/Refused: 0%

18. You may have heard that the State of Maryland is facing a large budget shortfall again this year. To deal with this shortfall, is it better to raise taxes or to cut programs?

o Raise taxes: 36%

o Cut programs: 34%

o Combination: 20%

o Not sure: 11%

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