So this was released today: https://www.marylandmatters.org/single-post/2018/09/21/Nompartisan-Poll-Shows-Comfortable-Lead-for-Kittleman-in-Howard-County
Even if Allan Kittleman garners 94% of the GOP vote and 65% of the Unaffiliated/Independent vote, Calvin Ball can still win by a 50.06% - 49.94% margin assuming 1) Ball obtains 80% of the Democratic vote and 2) the D turnout percentage is no less than the R & I turnout percentages (FYI: I used 60% across-the-board on the back of my envelope).
In short, fear not the current 16% gap that this one survey shows. There is plenty of time for movement. The published internals reveal a Ball path to victory.
At this stage, the Ball challenge focuses on:
Bringing Democratic voters home by increasing awareness of Ball’s record and (importantly) his vision for Howard County amongst key D constituencies. In order to be effective, the Ball campaign’s messaging needs to be forward-looking and centered on issues of concern to voters. This sounds common sense, but can be more difficult than it seems.
Driving up D turnout to the greatest extent possible. This includes Early Voting, AV, & (critically) Election Day voters (reminder: in 2014, Brown and Watson won among those who cast their ballots early or by absentee, but lost amongst those who went to the polls on Election Day). This means getting Ds who vote in presidential cycles, but not necessarily midterm elections, to the polls.
Reminding Democratic voters that although a certain R might have a non-disagreeable personality, that doesn’t mean they should vote for that individual. When the crunch comes, are Democrats better off with someone who has been a consistent fighter for their values – and who will be laser-focused on the County’s needs for the next four years - or with someone who might be looking to take a more conservative turn in order to enhance their appeal to Republicans across the state for a 2022 campaign?
Of course the latter point ends on a bit of a process argument that isn't a clear kitchen-table issue, but it is something to consider. It is fair game for voters, who want to know what a public official is doing…and will do…for them. It’s about commitment.
To summarize, I believe a) Kittleman’s present mark of 53% includes a fair number of soft supporters who can and will move to the Ball column, b) that many of the present-day Undecideds are Democrats who haven’t yet made up their mind, but will end up voting for Ball, and c) higher Democratic turnout changes the fundamental model, creating an even more favorable electoral environment for Ball.