A new poll released Tuesday shows Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III remains ahead among the top Democratic challengers with two weeks until the June 26 primary election.
The poll from Gonzalez Research & Media Services of Arnold, Maryland, shows Baker ahead at 25 percent among Democratic primary voters, but only two percentage points ahead of former NAACP President Ben Jealous at 23 percent.
The third-closest competitor, state Sen. Richard Madaleno Jr. of Montgomery County, received 9 percent of the vote. Gonzalez conducted the survey of 505 registered Democratic voters between June 4-10 by telephone with a margin of error by 4.5 percentage points.
A poll conducted in January showed Baker at 24 percent and by nearly 12 percentage points ahead of second place opponent, the late Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.
“It’s the natural evolution of any election,” Patrick E. Gonzalez, who manages the firm, said in an interview. “Also, the death of County Executive Kevin Kamanetz last month kind of impacted the race in ways that are unusual. I think the dynamics are still in play with Baker’s strength in the metro Washington area.”
Baker received 54 percent of the vote in his home turf of Prince George’s, with Jealous at 18 percent. Baker also has a slight lead over Madaleno in Montgomery County with 23 percent versus 22 percent, respectively.
Jealous maintains a huge lead in Baltimore City and Baltimore County at 59 percent and Baker at 35 percent.
However, Gonzalez said that deficit still may not affect Baker.
“Because of his strength in Prince George’s and [slight lead in Montgomery County] is what’s given him his current lead,” Gonzalez said. “He’s showing enough signs out of the Baltimore area and getting enough votes right now that the signs look good.”
Here’s how the other candidates fared in the poll:
• Former Montgomery County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin, listed as the “ticket of Kevin Kamenetz:” 7 percent
• Baltimore attorney Jim Shea: 6 percent
• Krish Vignarajah, onetime policy director for former first lady Michelle Obama: 5 percent
• Tech entrepreneur Alec Ross: 2 percent
• Ralph Jaffe and James Hugh Jones II: less than 1 percent
The poll shows about 22 percent still remain undecided. The firm’s poll in January showed 33 percent remain undecided.
In terms of the general election in November against Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who’s unopposed in the primary, the poll shows Baker as the top Democratic contender.
In nearly identical figures from the January poll, 48 percent of November voters would choose Hogan “if the election were held today.” About 37 percent would vote for Baker and 22 percent are undecided.
The Gonzalez poll in January showed Hogan at 47 percent and Baker with the same percentage as recorded in Tuesday’s poll.
In the five regions of the state in the general election, Baker would easily capture Prince George’s County at 55 percent to Hogan’s 30 percent. The poll shows Baker with a slight edge in Baltimore City at 43 percent versus 42 percent.
However, Hogan would dominate Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore with at least 73 percent of the vote. Hogan would receive 49 percent of the vote in the Baltimore suburbs, compared to Baker’s 33 percent.
Overall, the poll highlights 67 percent of Democrats “approve” of the governor, but only 41 percent of this group plan to vote for Hogan.
Meanwhile, Baker touted a statewide transportation plan Monday outside the Silver Spring Library. The location will house one of the 21 stations along the Purple Line light-rail project in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.
Standing alongside running mate Elizabeth Embry, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) and two Montgomery County Council members, Baker said he would encourage companies to allow employees to telework, implement a light-rail system in Waldorf in Charles County and transform diesel-powered school buses into electric to decrease emissions.
His first transportation priority, if elected: revive the Red Line light-rail project in Baltimore and secure federal dollars. As discussions take place with federal officials, Baker said his administration would work on a rapid bus system to connect to the east and west sides of the city.
“The reason Prince George’s County leads the state in job creation is we developed around our Metro system,” Baker said. “The Red Line will be on the top of our list. This is the type of administration that is going to move Maryland forward.”