Disclaimers first: this was a “fun” poll…it is not based on proportionate-to-probability sampling of the likely electorate. The findings are not projectable. Most of the study respondents are probably highly informed/politically engaged individuals who reside in the Greater Howard County Metropolitan Region. The data collection mechanism was via social media platforms, with my Facebook friends and Twitter followers constituting all, or almost all, of the study participants. The total N was 40, about the size of 4 or 5 standard focus groups.
With all of the above in mind, that doesn’t mean there weren’t some interesting results…
Question: Looking ahead to the 2018 Maryland Democratic Primary Election for Governor, if that election were being held today, for whom would you vote?
1) Total number of votes won by Rushern Baker, John Delaney, Kevin Kamenetz, and Dutch Ruppersberger combined? Zero. Analysis: I would have expected at least a smattering of votes for the two County Execs and the two Congressmen, primarily the former three.
2) So who “won?” Former County Executive and LG nominee Ken Ulman (20%). Analysis: I intentionally kept this a one question survey, so I didn’t ask where the respondents resided. So, I can’t run crosstabs by such demographics. That said, this outcome is not surprising. That also said, it is clear that there is no overwhelming front-runner in this still-evolving and largely “invisible primary.”
3) Most interesting outcomes: The strength of Delegate Maggie McIntosh (15%), Senator Rich Madaleno (12.5%), and former president and CEO of the NAACP Ben Jealous (10%). Analysis: it stands to reason that the progressive wing of the party has been energized following the 2016 election results and that such candidates would fare well in these early ballot tests. Full disclosure: my current “favorite(s)” can be found on this short list.
4) Mild surprise. Former MD AG Doug Gansler (7.5%). Analysis: this has to be driven in large measure by Name ID. Where precisely is the Gansler constituency in today’s Maryland Democratic Party?
5) Receiving two votes: Congressman John Sarbanes (5%). Analysis: good political name, decent visibility, has sort of a “goo-goo” issue profile among the cognoscenti. Not certain if I see him as the best option to take on Hogan in 2018…but apparently at least two people do.
6) One-voters: Current Delegate and former Congressional candidate Joseline Pena-Melnyk and “technology executive and author” Alec Ross (2.5% apiece). Analysis: it should be noted that one of the write-ins was “anyone but Joseline Pena-Melynk.” Ouch. Ross, on paper and as of this writing, profiles as a different sort of candidate…and if he can raise enough $, he could finish in the top three in a primary…with 15% of the vote.
7) There were a total of 10 write-ins (25%). Analysis: normally, I would attribute this relatively high figure to a design flaw in the questionnaire. But then I saw the names and realized several people were doing wish lists (again, a manifestation of their dissatisfaction with The Establishment, such as it is), some were undecided, and a couple of respondents were just having fun. There were four serious names, all receiving one vote apiece: AG Brian Frosh (2.5%), former Congresswoman and U.S. Senate candidate Donna Edwards (2.5%), former Delegate and candidate for Governor Heather Mizeur (2.5%), and Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner (2.5%). I voted for three of those four candidates in recent cycles, all fine choices. I already mentioned one of the “other” write-ins…which leaves two other names, neither of which I will report here, one “none of the above,” one “undecided,” and one “sigh.”
8) Oh yes, influential attorney and former chairman of the University of Maryland Board of Regents James Shea, zero votes. Analysis: welcome to dark-horse country! Hope the exploration is going well.
Stay tuned, as more will follow.