Ho­gan, post-La­bor Day start re­main pop­u­lar, polling finds

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By JA­COB OWENS

jowens@ce­cil­whig.com

— Gov. Larry Ho­gan re­mains very pop­u­lar with Mary­land res­i­dents and they es­pe­cially like his ex­ec­u­tive or­der man­dat­ing a post-La­bor Day start for state schools, even if they are wary of a gover­nor ex­er­cis­ing such power, a new poll found.

Seventy per­cent of re­spon­dents in a Goucher Poll taken Sept. 17-20 said they ap­proved of the job Ho­gan is do­ing in the state, while only 12 per­cent said they dis­ap­proved. The polling rep­re­sents the high­est ap­proval rat­ing in the Repub­li­can gover­nor’s 20 months of ser­vice, re­tain­ing the high­est ap­proval rat­ing of any Mary­land gover­nor in the 2000s.

When asked to ex­plain why they ap­prove of Ho­gan’s han­dling of af­fairs, 41 per­cent said they like his lead­er­ship, while 12 per­cent said they like his per­son­al­ity and 11 per­cent like his low­er­ing of tolls. For those who dis­ap­proved of the gover­nor’s track record, 33 per­cent said he hasn’t done the right things, while 26 per­cent said they dis­ap­prove of how he’s han­dled ed­u­ca­tional is­sues and 11 per­cent cited his han­dling of trans­porta­tion is­sues.

Ho­gan’s lik­a­bil­ity may be soft­en­ing his more con­tro­ver­sial

TOWSON

de­ci­sions to po­ten­tial vot­ers as well. When he an­nounced a new ex­ec­u­tive or­der last month man­dat­ing that state schools start af­ter La­bor Day in or­der to spur more spend­ing in-state over the hol­i­day week­end, it drew re­buke from state leg­is­la­tors, school dis­tricts and teach­ers groups. Some even sought le­gal guid­ance over whether the gover­nor could man­date the idea and vowed to ad­dress it in the next Gen­eral Assem­bly.

But the gover­nor banked on the pub­lic’s sup­port of the mea­sure and it ap­pears he will get it. Goucher’s polling found that 68 per­cent of re­spon­dents ap­proved of the post-La­bor Day or­der while only 19 per­cent dis­ap­proved. This find­ing comes af­ter 51 per­cent of re­spon­dents said that a gover­nor should rarely or never is­sue such or­ders and only 41 per­cent said he or she should some­times or fre­quently is­sue them.

Ho­gan’s high ap­proval rat­ings may also be bright­en­ing Mary­lan­ders’ views of the fu­ture, with 65 per­cent of re­spon­dents say­ing they be­lieve things are head­ing in the right di­rec­tion in the state ver­sus 19 per­cent who said they are not.

But while res­i­dents may be in near agree­ment about the fu­ture of the Old Line State, they don’t agree on what is the sin­gle big­gest is­sue that it faces. Twen­tytwo per­cent of re­spon­dents cited ed­u­ca­tion as the most im­por­tant is­sue while 13 per­cent said they eco­nomic growth and devel­op­ment, 10 per­cent said job growth and un­em­ploy­ment, 9 per­cent said crime and 8 per­cent said taxes.

While Ho­gan’s pop­u­lar­ity rises, res­i­dents do not nec­es­sar­ily as­so­ci­ate the gover­nor’s suc­cess with his po­lit­i­cal party, po­ten­tially hurt­ing statewide and na­tional races for Repub­li­cans, ac­cord­ing to the poll.

Sixty-six per­cent of re­spon­dents said they ap­prove of Demo­cratic Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s han­dling of his job com­pared to 29 per­cent who dis­ap­prove — the low­est dis­ap­proval rate in four years of Goucher polling. Mean­while, 80 per­cent of re­spon­dents said they dis­ap­proved of the Repub­li­can-con­trolled Congress’ han­dling of their jobs com­pared to 13 per­cent who ap­prove.

When asked if Ho­gan’s de­ci­sion to not en­dorse pres­i­den­tial Repub­li­can nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump has af­fected their view of the gover­nor, 50 per­cent said it made no dif­fer­ence, 44 per­cent said it im­proved their opin­ion of Ho­gan and only 5 per­cent said it wors­ened their opin­ion.

County to test emer­gency alert sys­tem Wed­nes­day

ELKTON

— Sirens will sound across Ce­cil County at 2: 20 p. m. Wed­nes­day as part of a na­tional test of the Emer­gency Alert Sys­tem.

In fact alarms will be sound­ing statewide — in- clud­ing on broad­cast me­dia — in con­junc­tion with the U. S. Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity and Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency. Ac­cord­ing to FEMA, the test “is in­tended to en­sure pub­lic safety of­fi­cials have the meth­ods and sys­tems that will de­liver ur­gent alerts and warn­ings to the pub­lic in times of an emer­gency or dis­as­ter.”

Ra­dio and tele­vi­sion will par­tic­i­pate as well with the mes­sage: “This is a na­tional test of the Emer­gency Alert Sys­tem. This is only a test.”

The test should ex­pose any gaps in the no­ti­fi­ca­tion sys­tem, ac­cord­ing to FEMA.

STAR DEMO­CRAT PHOTO BY VIC­TO­RIA WIN­GATE

New polling found wide­spread sup­port for Gov. Larry Ho­gan, right, and his ex­ec­u­tive or­der re­quir­ing Mary­land pub­lic schools to be­gin classes af­ter La­bor Day.

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