Baltimore voters overwhelmingly approve of Maryland Gov. Wes Moore’s response to the Key Bridge collapse and give high marks to President Joe Biden and Mayor Brandon Scott, according to a survey conducted by Goucher College Poll in partnership with The Baltimore Banner.

Moore, a Democrat facing his highest-profile challenge since taking office in 2023, led daily briefings from the shore of the Patapsco carried live on national television. He scored an “excellent” or “good” rating from 74% of voters in the new survey.

Sixty-two percent of respondents had a positive view of Biden’s handling of the tragedy, and 61% approved of Scott’s response. Overall, voters said they had a 55% favorable view of Scott — an increase of 18 percentage points from a Goucher/Banner poll conducted in October. He leads his two challengers in the mayoral Democratic primary, the poll found.

The survey of 705 registered voters in Baltimore was conducted by landline and cellphone from April 3 — eight days after the bridge fell — through April 7. The poll has a margin of error of 3.7 percentage points.

Gary Therkildsen, a 44-year-old resident of the Berea neighborhood of East Baltimore, said he has been impressed by the leadership and coordination of local, state and federal leaders in the wake of the Key Bridge collapse.

He pointed to quick steps that officials took in the first few hours to activate emergency responses and provide residents with up-to-date information, as well as steps leaders have taken to send relief to workers affected by the Port of Baltimore’s closure.

Therkildsen, a Democrat who plans to vote for Scott in the May primary election, contrasted the response to the federal government’s disjointed messaging during the COVID-19 pandemic under then-President Donald Trump.

“I’ve seen nothing but fluidity and cohesiveness and everybody being on the same message,” he said. “I can’t imagine a better response.”

Voters say overall they have a favorable view of Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and his response to the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

Others noted elected leaders were keeping businesses afloat.

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Jerrell Bratcher, 42, said Moore and federal officials did a good job, but that he wanted more from Scott.

“Not to say that we need the mayor in every situation, but when you look at the bridge and the waterways, the main key player is Baltimore City,” said Bratcher, a Southwest Baltimore Democrat who works at a local university. He said the mayor needs to better explain how rebuilding the bridge benefits the area’s residents from a personal and economic standpoint.

Tia Harris, a 48-year-old tech worker and Democrat who lives in Uplands in Southwest Baltimore, said Scott and Moore both handled the response well, but she viewed Moore’s performance as a bit too scripted for her tastes.

“I think he’s being groomed to be the next president,” she said. “It makes him look like the golden boy, similar to Martin O’Malley,” a former Baltimore mayor and two-term Maryland governor who briefly ran for president.

Kenneth Hobbs, a 53-year-old Republican living in Southwest Baltimore’s Morrell Park, said he has property in Stoney Beach and knows it faces major traffic problems now. He said he was pleased to see the quick commitment of federal funding, but viewed Moore’s centering of the six construction worker victims as minimizing the other impacts of the collapse.

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“The port is huge,” Hobbs said. “I think he was a little too focused on not answering questions by saying, ‘There are still people grieving here’ and things like that.”

Erin Gray said she was glad Scott and Moore prioritized recovering the bodies of those who died to give closure to the families.

“There is no game plan or booklet on how to manage the collapse of a 40-something-year-old bridge,” said Gray, a 47-year-old Democrat in Park Heights.

When the Key Bridge collapsed, Donna Martinez-Jones’ son’s job as a tractor-trailer driver became uncertain.

Martinez-Jones, a 61-year-old Democrat in Ashburton, said her son is grappling with whether to stay in Baltimore or look elsewhere for work.

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She said she appreciated how government leaders have come together in the aftermath of the bridge collapse.

“I would consider that they are doing the best that they can,” she said.

Jess Clancy, 23, a resident of Pen Lucy in North Baltimore who identifies as an independent voter, questioned some of the information provided by officials, as well as their commitment to infrastructure prior to the collapse.

“Why do we need more police and jails and prisons when this money could easily be going toward housing and education and funding better infrastructure?” she asked.

About one-fifth of voters said the bridge collapse would directly impact the daily lives of themselves and their families; another one-fifth said it would impact their lives somewhat. But 37% said it would not impact them at all. Many of the bridge’s daily users were from eastern Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County.

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The voters surveyed also said they were expecting a long rebuild: 39% predicted it would take four to five years, and 20% thought it could take six to 10 years. About one-third of voters thought it could be done within one to three years.

Banner reporter Brenda Wintrode, Hallie Miller and Adam Willis contributed to this article.

Correction: A graphic on this story was updated to correct the margin of error.

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