Why Ehrlich leads in today’s poll: It’s all about turnout 

My Examiner colleague David Freddoso has already written on the startling Maryland poll from Colorado-based Magellan Strategies (a firm unknown to me until recently) that shows Republican former Governor Bob Ehrlich leading Democratic incumbent Governor Martin O’Malley, 46%-43%.

One reason for Ehrlich’s (not statistically significant) lead: blacks are significantly less interested in voting: only 69% of black respondents say they are extremely likely to vote as compared to 88% of white respondents. Magellan’s screen produces a sample in which blacks are just 20% of the Maryland electorate—a significant contrast with the 2008 exit poll, which showed blacks as 25% of the electorate—more than in all but four Deep South states.

It is difficult if not impossible for polls to project turnout, but this is consistent with other polls showing lower interest in and enthusiasm about voting among Democrats than Republicans, and with the turnout in the November 2009 elections for governor in New Jersey and Virginia, and the January 2010 special election for senator in Massachusetts.

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Michael Barone

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