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Winning the Messaging Battle, Part I

Republican Governor Larry Hogan Gets High Praise In Deep-Blue Maryland

In June, Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan was diagnosed with stage three non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which he announced during a press conference. He planned to undergo chemotherapy to combat the cancer, which blessedly eradicated 95 percent of it by August. Right now, the governor is enjoying good news on the personal and political front, 61 percent of Marylanders approve of the job he’s doing (via WaPo):


Hogan’s 61 percent approval rating — up from 42 percent in February — extends across partisan and demographic lines in a state where registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans more than 2 to 1.

At a time of increasing polarization in U.S. politics, such broad likability is anomalous, said Todd Eberly, a political scientist at St. Mary’s College.

While national Republican leaders are increasingly viewed as confrontational and divisive, Eberly said, “Hogan doesn’t appear to be like that. People aren’t seeing him as his party but are seeing him as him.”

The governor is viewed more favorably than either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party, and he is presiding over a state that is riding a wave of increased optimism. For the first time since 2007, a majority of residents polled say things in Maryland are headed in the right direction.

Yet, here comes the wet blanket. The article obviously alluded that Maryland is a liberal bastion that still supports liberal policies; education is one area where the governor gets low marks, as he’s sought to expand the power of charter schools. Moreover, this doesn’t mean that he’s a shoo-in for re-election either:


From a historical perspective, Hogan’s early popularity is quite similar to the 62 percent approval rating for Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) roughly one year into office. Hogan’s approval is 9 points higher than that of his predecessor, Martin O’Malley (D), at the same point in his first term.

Those early approval ratings did not predict future success, however: Ehrlich lost his bid for reelection, while O’Malley easily won his.

Nevertheless, that’s way on the periphery at present. The governor has just finished his cancer treatment, and was greeted by his staff as he headed back to work this week. Then again, a 61 percent approval rating isn’t something to ignore either. It seems like Hogan is doing well on both fronts.  The Sun added that the governor will have to go back to the doctor in a month to measure the effectiveness of the chemotherapy. 

This afternoon my executive staff surprised me with a special "homecoming" outside Government House as I arrived back in Annapolis after my final round of chemo! I would like to thank them all for their hard work changing Maryland for the better, especially during my treatment.I'd also like to thank the thousands of people who have been praying for me and supporting me and my family over the last four months. Your support has given me the strength to get through this treatment and continue to work hard on behalf of the people of Maryland! #HoganStrong

Posted by Larry Hogan on Tuesday, October 13, 2015

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