Hogan, post-Labor Day start remain popular, polling finds
— 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
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
— 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.
New polling found widespread support for Gov. Larry Hogan, right, and his executive order requiring Maryland public schools to begin classes after Labor Day.