I have ben saying for a little while now that the Maryland State Senate race in District 12 might be an interesting one to watch…and some new information was reported yesterday by Maryland Matters that makes this even more interesting:

GOP Poll Suggests Another State Senate District Is in Play

As they work toward their goal of flipping five state Senate seats now held by Democrats, Maryland Republicans believe they have put another seat in play.

A recent poll obtained by Maryland Matters showed businessman Joe Hooe, the Republican, leading Del. Clarence K. Lam (D) in the race for the open 12th District seat, in Howard and Baltimore counties.

The single-day poll of 353 likely voters, taken on Oct. 1, had Hooe at 39 percent and Lam at 32 percent. The survey, taken by TC2, a GOP marketing and strategy firm, had a 5.5-point margin of error.

Joe Hooe, GOP Senate candidate in District 12

According to a Republican summary of the poll, Hooe’s lead is attributable to a few different factors. Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) had a 34-point lead over Democrat Benjamin T. Jealous in the 12th District – up from 25 points in another GOP poll taken on the race in August.

Hooe, who owns a tire distributorship in the Federal Hill neighborhood of Baltimore, has also been the beneficiary of Republican spending to define Lam and the contours of the race. The candidate has begun airing radio spots and the state GOP is running digital ads.

Hooe’s poll standing shows dramatic improvement over the Republican survey taken in mid-August. That could be a function of several factors.

Political professionals often consider single-day polls less reliable than polls taken over a period of a few days. Many pollsters saw a dramatic spike in Republican numbers all across the country over the past two weeks, fueled by GOP energy over the Supreme Court nomination of the newest justice, Brett M. Kavanaugh. Opinions differ over whether those numbers will be sustainable between now and Election Day.

What’s more, the Oct. 1 poll was a robocall made exclusively to land lines, meaning the poll respondents tended to be older. In a possible attempt to offset that likelihood, the sample size in the October poll was slightly more Democratic – 58 percent to 28 percent Republican – than it was in the mid-August poll, when it was 55 percent Democratic and 29 percent Republican. The earlier survey when to voters with landlines and cell phones.

Nevertheless, Hooe’s boost in the latter poll is striking.

The August GOP survey found Lam leading Hooe 48 percent to 30 percent in an initial head-to-head matchup. The “informed ballot” in that survey – an attempt to gauge voters’ views after certain statements were read about both candidates – showed Lam ahead, 42 percent to 32 percent.

In that Aug. 12-13 poll of 314 likely voters – taken by Red Maverick Media with a 5.5-point margin of error – Lam, a physician finishing his first term in the House of Delegates, was viewed favorably by 33 percent of voters and unfavorably by 5 percent. Hooe was viewed favorably by 12 percent and unfavorably by 5 percent.

Since that poll, Hooe’s favorables have gone up and Lam’s have gone down a bit. In the October poll, Hooe was viewed favorably by 28 percent and unfavorably by 9 percent. Lam was also viewed favorably by 28 percent, compared to 14 percent who viewed him unfavorably.”

You can read the full article here:  https://www.marylandmatters.org/single-post/2018/10/08/GOP-Poll-Suggests-Another-State-Senate-District-Is-in-Play

A few thoughts I had after reading this…

  1. It is a poll from a GOP marketing firm…so that could be a factor in the numbers.
  2. The statement “Political professionals often consider single-day polls less reliable than polls taken over a period of a few days.” is probably true in most polls…but one in a local race like this may be more accurate as the number swings would not be as great as in other races.
  3. The “the Oct. 1 poll was a robocall made exclusively to land lines” has to be concerning. Maybe there are a great number of landlines in D12…but seems like an odd approach to polling (to me).

I recently wrote about recent Facebook outreach in which Joe Hooe had better numbers over the past week and the August campaign finance numbers showed positive numbers for Joe Hooe in terms of funds raised.

I wrote a numbers breakdown article back in July in which I guessed that this race “Leaned” towards Clarence Lam…but I also noted in that article some factors that could play a role in this race (unity being a big one…and I have not seem much online about the current State Senator or Lam’s primary opponent doing much to help in this race)…and around 2,400 votes separated these two candidates back in the 2014 delegate race…so don’t overlook this race folks.

This will be one of those districts I will be watching to see the voter turnout during early voting (only 16 more days until it starts).

Scott E


  1. I have no idea how to pronounce the republican candidates name, but I bet it rhymes with “phooey” and for you to lead with this GOP paid for poll does a disservice to your integrity and to that of folks that have followed your good reporting. Here’s my paid for poll- the current District 12 Democratic slate has a better *proven* record of service than a tire salesman recently drafted from nowhere.

    • I am sorry you did not like the article. I do hope you read it all the way to the end and saw the items I noted (which included the fact that this was a GOP marketing firm that did this polling)…as well as the other items (finance and social media article I have written recently) that I referenced as part of this article. I try and also be fair in my reporting…but I get that not everyone agrees with my comments…but I hope you continue to read the blog in the future.

  2. In one short post, Ms. Hugh exemplifies one of the biggest problems in political discourse today: not reading the whole article/post before commenting. She further compounds it by making fun of the candidate’s name and goes for broke by demeaning his profession. For the record, Hooe has run for elected office several times and never won. To say he came out of nowhere thusly is a mischaracterization.

    Scott, thanks for keeping things even and fair. Im not decided between Lam and Hooe as i do not live in their district. But i am watching it closely as this could be a district that helps give the Mike Miller/Michael Busch machine a solid counterpunch. Everyone in our state loses the longer those two maintain their stranglehold on Annapolis. Democrats and Republicans ought agree that their reign must come to an end, and soon.

    • Sadly, Mr. Miller, your opening sentence is incorrect – I read all of the post and the original article. My concern as stated, and now restated, is that the items listed as the afterthoughts – “a few thoughts after reading this….” should have started the post as a caveat because they are more important than a basic footnote.
      As far as a play on words…sorry if that offended anyone…I’ll have to get myself out of 45’s gutter. And agreeing about any one particular party’s terminus is what voting is all about.
      Good luck with your efforts and reigns.


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