Poll: Maryland Voters Deeply Worried About State’s Economy

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Maryland voters continue to be pessimistic about the state’s economy, with 82 percent saying they believe Maryland’s economy is either getting worse or staying about the same, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

The Center Maryland / OpinionWorks telephone poll of likely voters also found that one-third of Marylanders worry every day about their own households’ financial situation, and another third of Marylanders worry sometimes. (Click here to see the question and results.)

“As far as individual households are concerned, the economic situation has just not gotten better,” said Steve Raabe, president and founder of the Annapolis-based OpinionWorks, which conducted the poll in conjunction with the non-profit Center Maryland. “Despite some positive news in the larger economy, these numbers at the household level have not improved.”

The Center Maryland / OpinionWorks Statewide Voter Survey was conducted August 13-18, 2010. The telephone survey questioned 600 likely General Election voters statewide, and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points. The sample was balanced by region of the state, political party, age, gender, and race/ethnicity to reflect the characteristics of Maryland’s likely voter population.

In being asked how they view the state’s economy, only 15 percent of Maryland voters said they believe the economy is getting better, while 39 percent said they see it getting worse. The poll found 43 percent see it staying about the same. (Click here to see the question and results.)

The numbers are virtually unchanged from previous statewide polling that Raabe’s company has done. For example, last November, OpinionWorks found that 12 percent of Maryland voters thought the economy was getting better, while 41 percent said they saw it getting worse and 45 percent believed the economy was staying about the same.

Similarly, that November poll found that 34 percent of Maryland voters reported worrying every day about their own households’ financial situation, while 35 percent said they worry sometimes and 31 percent said they do not worry.

”It is hard to overstate the economic stress Maryland households feel, and that stress overhangs all public policy questions involving taxing and spending in this election year,” said Raabe, whose firm has extensive experience polling in Maryland political races, including for the Baltimore Sun during recent campaigns

This month’s poll also asked Marylanders for their views on the taxes they pay to state government compared to the services they receive. Four in 10 voters described their state taxes as “much too high,” while 22 percent said their taxes are “a little too high.” One-third called their taxes “reasonable” for the services provided by the state, and 2 percent said they believe their taxes are too low. (Click here to see the question and results.)

“Maryland has traditionally not been an anti-tax state. When 61 percent of Maryland voters think their state taxes are too high compared to the services they receive, leaders must take note,” Raabe said.

In the November poll conducted by OpinionWorks, 59 percent of Marylanders said their taxes were too high, while 36 percent said taxes were reasonable and 2 percent said they were too low.

Who conducted the poll:

OpinionWorks is a research firm based in Annapolis that has extensive experience conducting polling and focus group surveys in Maryland and around the country. Recent clients include the Baltimore Sun, New York City Mayor’s Office, Florida Courts System, and non-profit organizations working in such areas as mass transit, health care, higher education, water protection, and museums and the arts. (www.opinionworks.com)

Center Maryland is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit media outlet that highlights issues of real importance to job creation and economic growth in Maryland – with straight-down-the-middle reporting by professional journalists. Center Maryland features weekly columns from Donald Fry, President of the Greater Baltimore Committee, and long-time Maryland political commentator Josh Kurtz. Center Maryland’s website (www.centermaryland.org) and daily email provide the most comprehensive aggregation of media sources in Maryland.
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