WASHINGTON — The race between Democratic Reps. Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen for the Maryland Senate is tight, according to a poll released Tuesday.
Van Hollen, who represents the state’s 8th District, is supported by 38 percent of likely voters, while Edwards, of Maryland’s 4th District, is popular with 36 percent of likely voters, according to the survey conducted by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies. Twenty-four percent of the people polled said that they were undecided.
The two candidates are vying to replace outgoing Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski.
The poll, conducted Jan. 11-16 among 402 prospective Democratic voters, showed a shift from a previous survey taken last November by the Baltimore Sun, which showed Van Hollen at 45 percent to Edward’s 31 percent. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.
Van Hollen, who is white, is drawing more than 54 percent of the white vote and 44 percent of the overall male vote, the poll found. Conversely, Edwards, who is black, is pulling a mere 15 of the white vote and 30 percent of male voters. But she has backing among approximately 65 percent of the state’s African American voters and 40 percent of women.
The majority of Van Hollen’s support lies in his home district of Montgomery County and suburban Baltimore, according to the survey. Edwards’ core of support is based in Prince George’s County and the city of Baltimore, two jurisdictions with substantial black populations.
Edwards and Van Hollen both have favorability ratings of more than 60 percent in their respective suburban Washington counties of Prince George’s and Montgomery.
Van Hollen has a significant lead over Edwards in the rest of the state, but the polling firm noted that many of those regions are not as Democratic as Baltimore and suburban Washington.
Van Hollen’s lead correlates with his higher campaign spending. According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, he has $5.2 million in total contributions so far, compared to $1.5 million raised by the Edwards campaign. This disparity has become most evident in television ads.
“We’re pleased that Chris Van Hollen has maintained his lead, despite the million dollar blitz of Super PAC advertising,” said Bridgett Frey, the congressman’s Senate campaign spokeswoman. “We’re confident that voters are looking for his effective, progressive leadership that gets things done for Maryland families.”
Edwards campaign spokesman Benjamin Gerdes said of the poll results: “Despite Congressman Van Hollen’s $1.5 million dollar ad campaign, Donna’s momentum is growing because she’s the only progressive champion who will expand Social Security, end gun violence, and tackle the tough issues that Washington politicians refuse to discuss”.