Thursday, December 13, 2012

Franchot's Last Poll

Comptroller Peter Franchot's last poll before officially leaving the unofficial race for Governor lends even more light on the state of the race and why Franchot left.  From my review, it appears that the Comptroller chose to leave in a position of strength with strong favorables for his job performance and a competitive level of name recognition.  Any reasonable pol could have read these numbers and concluded that they should stay in the race to see how fundraising numbers shake out.  The danger with that approach is that you take the decision out of your hands and prompt a move based on weakness (i.e., money in the bank).

Normington Petts & Associates took the poll from likely Democratic Primary voters in May and December of this year.  The number of respondents was not disclosed.  These voters had an 85% favorability rating of the President and 70% for Governor O'Malley.

When asked about prospective Gubernatorial Candidates, the results were stark.  Here is how the candidates broke down for favorability (with name recognition in parenthesis):
  • Peter Franchot    36% (54%)
  • Anthony Brown  35% (52%)
  • Doug Gansler     31% (44%)
  • Ken Ulman         15% (25%)
It is interesting that although Anthony Brown's poll had the Lt. Gov. doing much better with favorability and name recognition, the results for the other candidates were mostly consistent.

Although 53% of respondents remain undecided on the current slate of candidates, for those that have made up their mind, voters lean heavily towards Brown.  If the race were held today, with all four candidates in the race, the projected results would be:
  • Brown    22%
  • Franchot 13%
  • Gansler   8%
  • Ulman    4%
Leaving the Gubernatorial race, 49% of respondents said that if the election were held today, without knowing the opponent, they would vote to re-elect Peter Franchot to the Comptroller's office, which may respond to some of Franchot's critics saying he has gone too far to the right to do well in a state-wide primary.

It is difficult to get a good read on this race, other than to note that Anthony Brown will be a formidable candidate through the primary.  Another constant is that Ken Ulman has a steep hill to climb in order to even get himself in the conversation for Governor, much less beat out the Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General.  It can be presumed that Team Ulman has their own set of polls that show an avenue for victory, however narrow that may be, but it isn't showing up in the hard numbers.  Growth Tier Vetoes and Soda Bans may be part of that path, and there is a lot of room for growth, so long as there is time to do so.  But when well situated candidates like Franchot are bowing out, you have to wonder what Ken is seeing that no one else can.