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Gonzales Poll Shows Most Marylanders Oppose Gas Tax, Favor Assault Weapons Ban

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Marylanders take a stand on the bigger issues in the Maryland Assembly this legislative session.

Political reporter Pat Warren has the results of a new Gonzales Poll that may surprise you.

A Gonzales research poll asks voters to weigh in on the two things Ben Franklin said to be certain--death and taxes. And no tax right now sees more opposition than the gas tax.

"If you ever put the word tax in front of the word gas you're sure to get a whole collection of boos, hisses, throwing chairs and tables," Governor O'Malley told reporters early this month.

Ninety-four percent of Marylanders support transportation improvement, but 73 percent oppose increasing the gas tax to pay for it.

While voters warn lawmakers to keep their hands off the pump, more are willing to let them pry the guns out of their hands. Senate President Mike Miller expects to pass gun legislation this session.

"Certainly we can ban the assault weapons," California tax attorney Miller said.

Eighty-eight percent of voters polled think background checks should be required for people buying guns at gun shows. As for an assault weapons ban--58 percent  favor it, 40 percent oppose. It's almost certain some legislation will pass this session.

"Absolutely, positively unequivocally yes," said Miller.

There's been an increase in the number of Marylanders opposed to the death penalty. Opposition is up eight points from last year. Governor O'Malley is a death penalty opponent.

"I believe we should stop doing it," he said.

Sixty-one percent of those polled think life without parole is an acceptable alternative to death, but lawmakers are still divided.

"Where is the concern for the victims' families?" asked Baltimore County Senator Jim Brochin.

Governor O'Malley is sponsoring a death penalty repeal.

The poll also shows the governor has a 54 percent approval rating, but only 25 percent think he should run for president in 2016.

The poll is conducted by Gonzales Research and has a margin of error of 3.5 percent. Pollsters questioned a total of 801 registered voters in Maryland.

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