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Is Maryland's Political Picture as 'Blue' as Some Think?

How deep is the Democrats' hold over Maryland?

As President Barack Obama zeroes in on Maryland's sixth consecutive Democratic presidential candidate win, the state's "blue" status may not be as lopsided as history and recent polls otherwise suggest.

There is little doubt that Obama is on his way to winning Maryland in next month's election; his double-digit lead in the reliably Democratic state is holding steady in polls conducted since Mitt Romney emerged as his Republican rival. And voters in Maryland haven't picked a Republican for president since George H.W. Bush edged Michael Dukakis in 1988.

Public Policy Polling’s poll in May put Obama ahead 58 percent to 35 percent, with 6 percent undecided, and a mid-September poll by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies showed Obama outpacing Romney 55 percent to 36 percent.

Obama also bested Romney 57 percent to 34 percent—with 10 percent undecided—in The Baltimore Sun’s poll last week.

But looking closer at the numbers, the Sun’s poll, for example, showed that among white respondents, Romney came out on top 47 percent to 43 percent. Ninety-one percent of African-American respondents expected to vote for Obama. 

In 2008, slightly more than half of the state’s white voters chose John McCain, yet Obama won Maryland 62 percent to 37 percent, the widest margin of the last six presidential elections.

If Maryland’s minority voters favor Obama next month at the same rate they did in 2008, Romney will need more than 75 percent of the white vote to upend Maryland’s domain as a Democratic stronghold, according to a National Journal analysis.

But the party’s reign over Maryland might be more tenuous than history and pollsters would otherwise suggest.

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett revealed as much when the county’s Democratic party met last month to take its stance on the ballot questions voters will see on Nov. 6.

An impassioned debate broke out when the topic turned to last year’s congressional redistricting. Leggett, a lead architect of the 2002 redistricting, warned dissenting Democrats that the party could lose its political advantage if Maryland’s eight congressional districts were made more compact and contiguous.

“If you change this, just slightly, we will go from a potential 7-1 [advantage]—or the 6-2 that we have today—to a 5-3 or a 4-4,” he said. “Let me repeat: You make a slight change in two districts, you can go to a 4-4 in the state of Maryland. Just think about that.”

Jerry October 04, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Lawdy, I know the voters of Maryland are among the best educated in the country, and I know they are not stupid. But are they too naive to understand we can't tax our way to prosperity? Marylanders are already stumbling under a huge income and property tax burden, and are long overdue for a tax revolt. The Democratic candidates sure aren't going to decrease taxes.
Bill Hussein O'Stalin October 04, 2012 at 11:20 PM
You're right. The residents of Maryland are voting themselves into the poorhouse and and are being led to slaughter while they sing Kumbaya.
Jones October 05, 2012 at 02:19 AM
To answer the question from the headline: Yes. First of all, it is a lazy headline. Who is this "Some?" Many people would have many different views on the Blue-ness of the state, so its actual Blue-ness will inevitably match one of those many views. So, the answer to that question will always be, Yes. Then, you say the truth may be different than recent polls suggest, while siting recent polls as the basis of your argument. But humorous semantics aside, I still fail to see the real point of this article. So, a higher percentage of black voters favor President Obama than White voters favor him? So what? We are a state with a large Black population, so that is how it is. And Maryland rigs their congressional districts to favor their overall preferred party?.. Just like every other sate in the union? Again, so what? I do think it is fun to look at actual state by state republican/democrat voting demographics (there are actually a lot of relatively surprising results), but I really don't understand why you feel the need to break it down to a racial level to question the state's "true" leanings, nor am I clear on what you were trying to convey by doing so.
Keith Best October 05, 2012 at 12:05 PM
What makes people think a first-term senator who spent most of that first-term running for another office, is qualified to oversee the world's largest economy? Romney ran a successful company, he was the "Chief Executive" of a successful Olympics, he even ran an entire state. Obama has proven he is in over his head, he never even ran a corner lemonade stand.
BERNIE FISKEN October 05, 2012 at 12:06 PM
The case for the color PURPLE: My recollection is that the color palette has 2 sorts of colors: primary colors and blended colors. RED and BLUE are primary colors, while a blend of RED and BLUE create the color PURPLE. PURPLE is a regal color. PURPLE is also my 10 Year Old Grandaughter's favorite color. I would like Maryland to become a PURPLE state wherein voters choose a Candidate based on his/her principles rather than on doctrinaire political party ideology. A rainbow has many colors, not just RED and BLUE. If one looks closely, one can see that the political rainbow has many colors, including PURPLE. My Grandaughter has it right.!
Captain Cook October 05, 2012 at 03:33 PM
It is clear the "enlightened" liberal dems drink from the same pond as fools - they keep voting the party, not the real life water of smart votes. They WANT to be taxed to death and WANT devalued quaility of good life in that they just can't reason anything but liberal dem ways...... The end of the Roman Empire is underway...
Jeremy Tuinstra October 05, 2012 at 04:52 PM
"But the party’s reign over Maryland..." Great way to describe the BLUE way!
KatieSilverSpring October 05, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Wow, I am so impressed with the Commentors here; I thought I was alone. And this article author is right on point. Leggett's remark is classic, and descriptive of what is wrong in Maryland, "from a potential 7-1 [advantage to a 4-4,” he said. “Let me repeat: You make a slight change in two districts, you can go to a 4-4 in the state of Maryland. Just think about that." Oh, yes, just think about it, Mr. Leggett; a state governed by those it governs ... what a thought indeed.
jag October 05, 2012 at 05:37 PM
If you think Leggett's claim is accurate then I got some swampland for ya. 6-2 is the best possible outcome for Republicans under any districting in this state. Maybe 5-3 for if you have a couple Morella-like Republicans (i.e. not anywhere close to the current Tea Party jokers you find in the less educated/affluent parts of this country).
Michael Shapiro October 05, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Let's see... Romney ran a company that, despite his denials, made money by cutting jobs (thereby creating unemployment) and shipping more overseas (thereby adding to the unemployment in the US). Romney was "Chief Executive" of a successful Winter Olympics (much smaller than the Summer games) that succeeded because they were bailed out by (wait for it) the Federal Government. He was governor of Massachusetts and didn't run for re-election because he was about to get his head handed to him in the upcoming election. Thanks I'll go for the four years worth of steady (if slow) improvement over an empty suit.
Inside Info October 06, 2012 at 03:55 AM
Shapiro: "slow and steady improvement"????? You obviously work as a contractor or for the govt. Get out in the world and away from your cushy govt job and see that under this failed President that the last 4 years were a failure. The so-called jobs number yesterday??? It was all govt jobs and education dept attition replacements..... The actual unemployment rate is in the double digits, not 7.8% as the "govt" would like you to believe...."simp"..... Obama and the libs create class warfare and racial tension.....Why else would Blacks vote 91% for him and why they suck up to the Hispanic vote? Maryland is one of the most business UNFRIENDLY states......strange.....VA is one of the best....just over the river..... But then again, you of course have a job in MD if you're a govt worker, or a scientist, or economist......forget it if you're anything else........
Bill Hussein O'Stalin October 06, 2012 at 02:53 PM
That's Ok Frank. You sound young and ignorant and I won't hold it against you.
Steve October 06, 2012 at 05:59 PM
The MDGOP fields weak candidates and has an even weaker bench. Look no further than Dwyer. He tries to tell us that Gay people are dangerous to children then goes out and gets drunk with his Man Pal and runs over a boatload of children.

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