Gov. Ehrlich's approval rating put at low point



Baltimore & Region

October 25, 2005|BY A SUN REPORTER

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s job approval rating has slipped to its lowest point since taking office, and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley and Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan are strong challengers who could upend Ehrlich's re-election chances, an independent poll being released today shows.

A telephone survey of 815 registered voters by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies showed O'Malley, a Democrat, ahead of Republican Ehrlich in a potential gubernatorial general election matchup, 48 percent to 42 percent, with 10 percent undecided.

Duncan was ahead of Ehrlich, 45 percent to 44 percent, with 11 percent undecided. The survey had a margin of error plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, making the matchup a statistical tie.

Forty-nine percent of Marylanders said they approve of the job Ehrlich is doing in office, with 42 percent disapproving. In a January Gonzales survey, the governor's approval rating was 55 percent.

Pollster Patrick Gonzales said Ehrlich's slip was "not that shocking," given the drop in President Bush's approval ratings and problems facing the Republican Party nationally of late.

In the race for the open U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Paul S. Sarbanes, U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, a Democrat, led Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, a Republican scheduled to announce his candidacy today, 47 percent to 38 percent, with 15 percent undecided. Sixty-eight percent of African-American voters said they would vote for Cardin, while 18 percent selected Steele.

Steele was ahead of former NAACP chief Kweisi Mfume, 42 percent to 40 percent, with 18 percent undecided. In that matchup, black voters chose Mfume over Steele, 70 percent to 17 percent.

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