Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, who recently completed his first 100 days on the job, has an approval rating of 53%, according to a new poll.

Among 800 people surveyed by Goucher College Poll in partnership with The Baltimore Banner, 36% said they approved of Moore’s job performance and another 17% gave strong approval.

A total of 26% disapproved or strongly disapproved, with 20% still unsure of their view of the new Democratic governor.

“Wes Moore’s approval rating is solid. He is on solid footing with Maryland voters,” said Mileah Kromer, pollster and director of Goucher’s Sarah T. Hughes Center for Politics.

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Not surprisingly, Moore’s approval was highest among Democrats (75%). He had a poorer showing with unaffiliated voters (41%) and Republicans (25%).

Kromer said while the support from Republicans and independents was far less than Democrats, it’s still notable. It’s enough to keep the governor’s popularity in safe territory.

“That’s a healthy mix of folks,” she said.

Bethesda resident Sarah Craven said Moore is “a breath of fresh air” who has impressed her with his support of reproductive rights and impressive appointments to key government jobs.

“He’s a superstar,” said Craven, who works in women’s health advocacy. “I think he’s going to do great things for the state. And in this current climate, leaders like that are more the exception than the rule. That to me is really important.”

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Timonium resident Matt Mazick voted for Moore and said he thinks the governor is doing well so far.

“It’s still very early,” said Mazick, who works in education. But he likes the governor’s emphasis on education and his program to offer a year of paid service for young adults, which recently was approved by state lawmakers.

Mazick said he participated in a service program when he was younger and found it valuable. “I gained a lot of experience and learned a lot about myself,” he said.

Barbara Peoples is a Republican who is hopeful that Moore can make a difference for young people.

“I’m hoping he’s going to help get this education piece right because the school system is in such a shambles,” said Peoples, who lives in Baltimore’s Lauraville neighborhood.

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She’s also concerned about crime, the economy and abortion rights.

“I think he’s doing relatively well, given the economic challenges and the perceptions we’ve had over the last several years. I think that he is doing politics at a time when we are more divided than anything. That’s not an enviable time,” said Ann Piesen, a federal employee from Montgomery County.

Piesen, a Democrat who voted for Moore, said the governor faces a tough task working on issues such as education and crime in this political climate.

“I just think he won’t be able to make everybody happy right now because we are so divided,” she said.

Moore rolled to victory in November over Republican Dan Cox and a handful of third-party candidates, winning about 65% of the vote.

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The Goucher-Banner poll is the first Maryland-based poll to gauge Moore’s job performance since he was sworn into office in January as the state’s first Black governor.

The results are in line with a recent poll from Morning Consult, which found Moore had 55% approval and 16% disapproval, putting him squarely in the middle of the pack among the nation’s governors when it comes to popularity. (The most popular governor in the nation is Republican Gov. Phil Scott of Vermont, with 78% approval, according to Morning Consult.)

Moore is following former Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican who consistently held high approval ratings exceeding 60% and sometimes beyond 70%. But Hogan started slowly, with an approval of just 39% in a Goucher College poll conducted after his first month on the job. That poll had a high rate of respondents who didn’t offer an assessment of the governor, 43%.

While it was important for Hogan to have high and bipartisan approval ratings to win elections and have political capital against a Democratic-dominated state legislature, that’s not the case for Moore, Kromer said.

“The truth of the matter is Wes Moore does not need a 70% approval rating to get reelected in four years,” she said. “Larry Hogan needed it. He needed not just to be popular, but to be extremely popular to have any power at all.”

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As for Moore: “You don’t want to be unpopular in the 40s or the 30s, but you don’t need to be in the 70s, either.”

A majority of poll respondents, 57%, said they think Moore is doing the job as well as they’d expected. And 12% thought the governor is doing “a little better” and 5% said he’s doing “a lot better” than expected.

Just 14% said the governor was doing a worse job than expected.

Poll participants were also asked to rate Moore’s politics on a scale ranging from “very conservative” to “very progressive.”

Most pegged Moore as left of center, with 38% pegging him as “progressive” and 20% saying he is “very progressive.” One-quarter of those polled said Moore has “moderate” politics.

The findings are similar to a Goucher-Banner poll in fall 2022, when those polled mostly described Moore as progressive/liberal (36%) or moderate (22%), with some saying he is “far or extreme left” (13%).

“People haven’t changed how they view him. They think he’s a mix between a moderate and a progressive,” Kromer said.

During the recently completed General Assembly session, Moore successfully pushed for some progressive initiatives, such as accelerating the minimum wage to $15, enhancing tax credits for the working poor and boosting requirements for offshore windpower. But he also sponsored less-partisan legislation that had broad support, including a tax break for military retirees and a new service program for young adults.

Goucher College Poll surveyed a representative sample of 800 Marylanders, including 768 who are registered voters, by landline and cellphone between April 18 and 23. The poll has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

pamela.wood@thebaltimorebanner.com

Pamela Wood covers Maryland politics and government. She previously reported for The Baltimore Sun, The Capital and other Maryland newspapers. A graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, she lives in northern Anne Arundel County.

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