It’s a race that is gaining national attention. A rematch between Gov. Martin O’Malley and Bob Ehrlich that until this point has been a horse race. But a new poll by the Washington Post out this morning shows that O’Malley is starting to pull ahead, just five weeks before Election Day.
Out of the almost 1,500 voters surveyed, 52 percent of likely voters support O’Malley, while only 41 percent support Ehrlich. That gap is even greater among registered voters, with 49 percent in favor of O’Malley and 35 percent for Ehrlich.
Today’s poll greatly differs from a similar poll by the Post in May. At that time, likely voters surveyed gave equal support to both candidates, with each candidate earning 47 percent.
If there is good news for Ehrlich, it comes in the form of independents. Ehrlich is far outpacing O’Malley in winning over independents with 54 percent of independents surveyed giving the Republican their vote.
O’Malley has done enough to invigorate the state’s Democrats to hold 87 percent of their support. And it may be those moderate Democrats that help O’Malley in November. In 2002, Ehrlich won due to fairly high bi-partisan support. But this year, even those who are less enthusiastic about O’Malley seem to be choosing him anyway.
The economy still ranks as the highest concern among Maryland voters. Forty-one percent of voters said it’s the biggest issue facing the state. And voters' trust in the two candidates with handling the economy is relatively even. Ehrlich is trusted by 43 percent of those surveyed compared to 40 percent for O’Malley.
The voters surveyed were randomly selected. The margin of error is 4 percent for likely voters and 3.5 percent for registered voters.