Poll: O'Malley's job approval exceeds Obama's for first time

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Governor Martin O’Malley’s job approval rating is the highest it has been since he was sworn into office in 2007, for the first time exceeding President Barack Obama’s job approval among Marylanders, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

The poll by Gonzales Research & Marketing Inc. found that the economy and jobs remain – by far – the biggest concern among Marylanders, with 58 percent saying they are the most important issue facing the state. The next highest issue was the budget deficit, at 15 percent, according to the poll.

The telephone poll of 802 registered voters also asked Maryland voters about three of the other hot-button issues of the day, finding:

• Death Penalty: 56 percent of Marylanders support the death penalty in Maryland, while 36 percent oppose it.

• Gun Control: 45 percent support stricter gun control laws in Maryland, while 24 percent say gun control laws should be less strict and 26 percent support leaving the current laws unchanged.

• Same-Sex Marriage: 51 percent of Marylanders would favor a law giving same-sex couples the right to marry with the “same legal rights as heterosexual married couples in areas such as tax exemptions, inheritance and pension coverage.” The poll found 44 percent oppose.

The poll, conducted from Jan. 13 through Jan. 19, has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.
With 58 percent of Marylanders approving of the job O’Malley is doing as governor, Gonzales Research concluded that “the highly successful campaign O’Malley waged in the fall has him well-positioned to lead during this current legislative session.”

The approval rating is the highest since the 52 percent approval rating that O’Malley scored in the Gonzales Research poll in March 2007, shortly after he took office. The approval rating had dipped to a low of 37 percent in March 2008, before steadily climbing up to 48 percent in the most recent Gonzales Research poll in October 2010.

A majority of Marylanders have consistently approved of the job that President Obama has been doing – though that rating has fallen significantly since the 80 percent approval rating that he received from Marylanders in January 2009 when he took office. The 54 percent job approval is slightly higher than the 52 percent job approval rating from Marylanders in October 2010.

To read the complete poll memo from Gonzales Research, click here.
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