With Election Day three weeks away (so close, yet so far), I am reluctant to enter the Prognostication Event Horizon ™ yet. That said, a new Washington Post- University of Maryland survey was released this morning, which has compelled me to offer up some thoughts that lead inexorably toward a predictions post. Bear in mind I am skeptical of such posts, but sometimes the mill demands grist.
Looking at the poll itself, there are a number of variables to consider.
1) Did they get the voter model right? How precisely did they winnow in the 532 “likely Maryland Democratic primary voters?” How are they accounting for new (primarily but not entirely younger) voters? Understanding that every little bit makes a difference, what about the small numbers of unaffiliated, third party, or even Republican voters who are registering as Democrats so they can cast a ballot in the D primary election?
2) The survey did not indicate strength of support on a definitely/probably/lean towards spectrum. I would estimate that at least a third of the Jealous and Baker support is soft. When you add soft supporters to the 39% undecided, it is clear that north of 50% of the electorate likely has no preference or is (relatively) easily “movable” over the next three weeks.
3) Ervin’s position, as of this writing, is challenging. Yes, the Ervin-Johnson ticket should appear on the ballot. But if that is not the case, her path to the nomination becomes considerably more difficult.
4) With three more televised debates on the schedule, the candidates who fare well in those forums are better positioned for the “rocket ship” experience. Meanwhile, I still believe that at least one candidate will fall off an electoral cliff.
With that in mind, here is my initial Maryland Gubernatorial Primary Election Prediction (as of June 5, 2018):
1. Vignarajah 23% (Feingold ’92 all over again, I am telling you…)
2. Baker 20% (break-through opportunities are becoming less apparent)
3. Madaleno 15% (Madaleno finishing a solid third sounds about right)
4. Jealous 14% (cliff alert)
5. Ervin 12% (needs to be on the ballot as Gov & stellar debates to finish higher)
6. Shea 8% (running a decent campaign but no constituency)
7. Ross 6% (I just don’t see it)
8. Jaffe 1% (1.4% would not surprise me)
9. Jones 1% (thinking 0.8%)
Note: estimated vote percentages and the projected finish order may change between now and Election Day, so stay tuned and what not.