Maryland voters more optimistic about the economy in WYPR/Banner poll

While Maryland voters say the economy is a top issue in the election, they also say they are more optimistic now than they were in early June, according to a recent phone poll conducted by Goucher College. About 55% of Democrats told pollsters they had a rosier outlook on the economy — up from 47% in June — while 28% of Republicans had a positive opinion. That was up from 20% in June.

The poll, which surveyed 1,008 adults in Maryland, was sponsored by and co-sponsored by the Sarah T. Hughes Center for Politics at Goucher College, WYPR The Baltimore Banner.

About 24% of Democrats said they had major financial difficulties because of inflation, compared to 37% of Republicans.

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The Greater Baltimore CPI rose 10.2% year-on-year in August, but the pace of inflation has slowed somewhat, rising less than 1% between July and August. Gas prices have fallen to about $3.45 across Maryland from a 52-week high of $5 a gallon in June.

Maryland’s unemployment rate was 4.2% in July, up from 6.1% a year ago. More than 520,600 residents out of 2 million adults statewide are government employees.

Democrat Caroline Berry, who works for the federal government and lives in Baltimore City, says she is optimistic about the economy.

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“You know, the federal workforce is really benefitting the region, and we’ve got a lot of growth in jobs that, you know, just seem to be growing,” Berry said. “All my friends, you know, are employed. And if they quit a job, they’re able to find jobs pretty, pretty easily. Also, the economy seems to be doing a little bit better in response to inflation and the housing market and stuff like that.”

In contrast, Queen Anne’s County Republican Rob Enders is concerned about supply chain issues and the impact of student debt relief.

“I think the government’s overspending is exacerbating inflationary pressures and negatively impacting markets and other issues in the economy,” Enders said.

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But in general, demand has been strong for the printing company he works for, he said.

“We probably have more work than we can handle,” he said.

Residents in Prince George and Montgomery counties were more likely to have a positive view of the economy than residents in the Baltimore area — 54% to 44% — or residents in rural communities in western and southern Maryland or on the east coast, where 33% said you had a positive opinion.

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