Nov. 25, 2015 — In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, this will be the final Update for the week. Enjoy the holiday break.
A recent media blitz appears to have achieved its intended effect in the Maryland Senate race. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD-8) invested funds for a sizable media buy to introduce himself to Maryland primary voters, particularly in the Baltimore metropolitan area. After trailing Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD-4) in earlier polling, a new OpinionWorks survey for the Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore finds the race has turned toward Van Hollen.
According to the poll results (Nov. 13-17; 419 likely Democratic primary voters) Van Hollen leads Edwards 45-31 percent when the two are tested, including a 16-point advantage in the Baltimore area. This essentially is the reverse of what we have previously seen. Additionally, as has been the case with much of the 2016 election cycle polling particularly at the presidential level, the sample size is small for a statewide race meaning a large error factor.
But, the most interesting finding is not the projected switch in fortunes between representatives Van Hollen and Edwards. While apparent that Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD-7) will not enter the Senate campaign, though he still has yet to officially declare for re-election and doesn’t actively dissuade any further Senate talk, he continues to fare very well when added to the candidates’ list.
If Rep. Cummings were to enter the statewide campaign, this OpinionWorks survey forecasts that he would actually lead his fellow Democratic congressional colleagues. The division among the three candidates would be 40-28-19 percent for Cummings, Van Hollen, and Edwards in that order.
Van Hollen also leads in campaign resources. According to the Sept. 30 Federal Election Commission financial disclosure report, the Montgomery County congressman has raised $5.17 million with $4.12 million cash-on-hand, though a considerable portion of that latter figure was spent on the recent media buy. In comparison, Edwards has only raised $1.56 million with just over $368,000 remaining in her campaign account.
The Maryland primary will be held concurrently with presidential voting on April 26.
Another Maryland poll was released, this one in Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s (D) open 8th District (Democratic primary). The Montgomery County-anchored congressional district is heavily Democratic, so the April 26 primary will almost assuredly decide who will succeed the seven-term congressman now running for Senate.
According to a Garstein Bocian Agne Strategies study (Oct. 28-Nov. 1, released Nov. 19; 500 likely MD-8 Democratic primary voters) conducted for candidate Jamie Raskin (D), the poll’s sponsor is jumping out to a discernible advantage over his many competitors.
Raskin, a Maryland state senator from Silver Spring, holds a 30-21-11 percent lead over former news anchorwoman Kathleen Matthews, and state Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez, respectively. State Delegate Kumar Barve tops the candidates falling into single-digits with five percent. College professor Dave Anderson posts three percent, while ex-Obama White House Aide Will Jawando registers two percent support.
Unlike the statewide poll covered above, this particular survey features a strong sampling universe of 500 respondents. In fact, the congressional poll has an even larger sample than the OpinionWorks’ statewide study.
A primary featuring a large number of candidates each with relatively low name identification is difficult to poll, but these results appear reasonable. The conclusions tell us that Raskin, who scores strong support within his own state Senate district, having a lead is a realistic conclusion, but the final result is still very much undecided.