Maryland Governor: Ehrlich 47%, O’Malley 46%

Rasmussen Reports

The race for governor of Maryland remains a close one, with incumbent Democrat Martin O’Malley and Republican challenger Bob Ehrlich in a virtual tie again this month.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Maryland finds Ehrlich with 47% support to O’Malley’s 46%. Two percent (2%) prefer some other candidate, and five percent (5%) remain undecided.

As expected, the rematch of the 2006 race has been close from the start and has been getting even closer as time goes on. In February, O’Malley led 49% to 43%, but by April it was a closer 47% to 44%. The two were tied last month with 45% apiece.

Still, Ehrlich faces an uphill struggle to reclaim the office he held from 2003 to 2007 in a state that trends strongly Democratic. But Marylanders, like voters nationwide, remain pessimistic about the economy.

Just 11% of Maryland voters rate the economy as good, while 44% view it as bad. Thirty-five percent (35%) say the economy is getting better; 42% say it’s getting worse. While bleak, these assessments are a bit more positive than the national view.

Two-thirds (67%) of the voters in the state say the country is in recession.

The survey of 500 Likely Voters in Maryland was conducted on July 8, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

In the 2006 election, O’Malley, then mayor of Baltimore, defeated Ehrlich, the first GOP governor in the state since the 1960s, by a 53% to 46% margin.

Ehrlich currently claims 87% of the state’s GOP vote and 22% of Maryland Democrats, while O’Malley earns just 71% support in his own party. Voters not affiliated with either major party prefer the Republican by 15 points.

Even in a state as reliably Democratic as Maryland, a majority (51%) of voters continue to favor repeal of the new national health care bill, although that’s several points lower than views nationally. Forty-seven percent (47%) oppose repeal. This includes 41% who Strongly Favor repeal of the bill and 35% who are Strongly Opposed.

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