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Poll: Maryland Governor Has 54 Percent Favorable Rating

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- A new poll shows Governor Larry Hogan's approval rating is on the rise, up 18% from February of this year.

Political reporter Pat Warren looks at what this means for the state's Republican party.

Hogan is the rare Republican elected in Democrat dominated-Maryland and, while his popularity is encouraging, the state Republican party has no illusions of taking over.

Republican Larry Hogan was, at best, considered a long shot to win the State House, with Democrats outnumbering Republicans 2-1 in Maryland. But eight months into his term, a Goucher poll gives Hogan a 58% approval rating. That's a lot of bipartisan support.

"And it shows that people have confidence in him right now," said Joe Cluster, Maryland Republican Party.

Eighteen percent disapprove---but with two million registered Democrats, that's not considered bad, either.

"Shows that people are watching what he's doing and they're not disappointed in what he's doing," Cluster said.

"Larry Hogan has single-handedly changed the public perception of the Republican party in Maryland," said Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh.

Schuh is one of five Republican County Executives. Republican Delegate Kathy Szeliga is planning a run to replace retiring US Senate Democrat Barbara Mikulski; she thinks voters are more open to Republicans.

"I'm a tough, working-class Polish girl from Baltimore and that's whose shoes we'll be filling," she said.

But a party statement issued Monday shows the Democrats aren't intimidated. "Our coalition is energized, our activists are fired up and we aren't taking anything for granted."

The Republican party executive director isn't expecting a surge of GOP support but expects change.

"I think the Democrat brand is not as strong as it used to be but I'm not going to say Larry Hogan is going to draw all these people to the Republican party 'cause that's not what he's about. He's about governing in the best fashion he knows," Cluster said.

Twenty-three percent of those questioned in the Goucher poll didn't know if they approve of Hogan's job performance yet or not; he's nine months into a four year term.

Fifty-six percent of those polled said they believe the state is moving in the right direction.

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