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Thursday, January 15, 2004

Duncan's Statewide Numbers Low

Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan has uninspiring poll numbers in a poll, as noted in today's Post:

"Most of the political insiders who have joined Duncan's pre-campaign for the 2006 governor's race have been well aware of the sizeable obstacles in the county executive's path.

They know that Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, a likely contender in a Democratic primary, would be a formidable opponent. He has proven fundraising abilities and a high-wattage personality. Then there's Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., who some believe could raise as much as $20 million.

Duncan's backers got a reminder this weekend of how much work lies ahead. A Washington Post poll found Duncan trailing far behind both Ehrlich and O'Malley in statewide name recognition. And a Baltimore Sun poll showed that, in a head-to-head contest, O'Malley, not Duncan, could outdraw Ehrlich.

Detailed breakouts of the Post poll provide more evidence of Duncan's challenge. On their respective home turfs, O'Malley has significantly more support than does Duncan. While 60 percent of Montgomery County residents view Duncan favorably, 78 percent of Baltimoreans have warm feelings for O'Malley.

O'Malley outpaces Duncan in every part of the state except the Washington metropolitan area, where his favorable ratings trail Duncan's by 18 points. O'Malley does better than Duncan with Republicans and independents. And Duncan appears to suffer most with the state's youngest voters, those ages 18 to 30. Only 28 percent in that category knew who Duncan was, compared with 64 percent who knew of O'Malley.

A Duncan aide said none of those numbers is a surprise, and said that polls taken when Ehrlich first announced his intention to run for governor showed similar results. But the aide did agree with this: It is hard to paint them as good news."

Also today, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Baltimore and colleagues accused the Department of Health and Human Services of whitewashing a report about differences in health and health care between white and minority populations, saying "Disparities do not disappear by concealing information."

And the Maryland Republican Party issued an action alert urging its supporters today to lean on their legislators to sustain Gov. Robert Ehrlich's veto of energy efficiency legislation.