New Regional Poll on Transportation:
DC-Area Residents Strongly Favor New Road AND Transit Projects, 
Want Action on Gridlock

(April 18, 2016) A new poll by OpinionWorks released April 18 at a briefing of area leaders shows transportation is by far the top long-term concern for residents of the Greater Washington Region. Overwhelming majorities also favor significant new investments in both the area's highway and mass transit networks. Large majorities in this regional poll of 800 residents in Maryland, DC and Virginia support:
  • Investing in the core capacity of the existing Metro system (though not necessarily its further expansion);
  • Major new multi-modal investments to widen and redesign several highway corridors, including I-270, the Capital Beltway, portions of I-66, and the American Legion Bridge, adding new express-toll lanes and regional bus-rapid-transit service on each; and
  • Virginia's Bi-County Parkway, a new Potomac River bridge crossing north of the American Legion Bridge, and two new transit lines in Maryland, the Purple Line and Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT).
Public support for all of these projects was exceptionally strong, ranging from 4-to-1 to 12-to-1 margins in all cases. The survey was commissioned by the Suburban Maryland Transportation Alliance (SMTA) and the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance (NVTA).

For more on this survey, click here.

For the survey report, click here.

New Baltimore Sun/ University of Baltimore poll:
Catherine Pugh Leads Sheila Dixon in Baltimore mayor's race

(April 7, 2016) State Sen. Catherine E. Pugh has opened up a clear lead over former Mayor Sheila Dixon as the mayor's race enters its final weeks, according to a new poll by OpinionWorks for The Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore.  Pugh, who has gained support steadily over recent weeks, is the choice of 31% of likely Democratic primary voters, the poll shows. She's followed by Dixon, who is in second place with 25% after leading or being tied for first in previous polls. Lawyer Elizabeth Embry is a distant third with 9%.

"Senator Pugh is clearly the one in command now in this race," said Steve Raabe, president of OpinionWorks, the Annapolis-based firm that conducted the poll. "She is leading and widening her lead."

Click here for more.

Results from Recent Baltimore Sun/ University of Baltimore poll:
Edwards takes lead in U.S. Senate race, Sun/UB poll finds

(March 12, 2016) Rep. Donna F. Edwards, long seen as an underdog in the race for Maryland's open US Senate seat, now has a slight lead and is winning among several critical Democratic constituencies, a new poll by OpinionWorks for The Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore shows. The Prince George's County Democrat has opened a significant margin among women, African-Americans and voters in the Baltimore region, considered the most important battleground in the contest to replace retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski.

When respondents were asked to consider the entire field of 10 candidates, many of whom have not campaigned, 34% of likely Democratic primary voters supported Edwards and 28% Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Montgomery County. When respondents' choices were limited to those two, Edwards' lead grew to 10 percentage points.

Click here for more.

More from Recent The Baltimore Sun/ University of Baltimore poll:
Hillary Clinton has a 33-point lead in Maryland Democratic primary,
new poll shows

(March 11, 2016) Hillary Clinton has a significant lead in her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in Maryland, underscoring her strength with African-American voters and women, a new poll by OpinionWorks for The Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore has found.

The former secretary of state has a vast, 33-point advantage over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders among likely Democratic primary voters. Political observers said that margin makes it unlikely Sanders will be able to repeat the kind of upset he managed in Michigan when Marylanders go to the polls April 26. "She's in a really strong position, almost across the board," said Steve Raabe, president of OpinionWorks, the Annapolis-based firm that conducted the poll.

Click here for more.

More from Recent The Baltimore Sun/ University of Baltimore poll:
Donald Trump tops GOP field in centrist Maryland, new poll finds

(March 11, 2016) Donald Trump is leading the Republican presidential field in Maryland and has broad support in a state where GOP voters have traditionally backed centrist, establishment candidates, a new poll by OpinionWorks for The Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore has found. The New York businessman - who has tied the GOP in knots with an unorthodox campaign and a sizable string of victories - has support from more than one third of likely voters in Maryland's Republican primary. 

That represents a nine-point lead over the next closest competitor for the nomination, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. "Trump is picking up support across the political spectrum," said Steve Raabe, president of OpinionWorks, the Annapolis-based firm that conducted the poll. "He's receiving support regardless of political philosophy."

Click here for more.

More from Recent The Baltimore Sun/ University of Baltimore poll:
Pugh, Dixon, virtually tied in Baltimore mayor's race, poll finds

(March 10, 2016) State Sen. Catherine E. Pugh and former Mayor Sheila Dixon are locked in a virtual tie in the Democratic race to become Baltimore's next mayor, a new poll from OpinionWorks for The Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore shows.  Pugh, whose support has surged in recent weeks, is now favored by 26% of likely voters in the Democratic primary. That's two points higher than the 24% who back Dixon, who has led the field for months. "It's a tight race between the two leaders," said Steve Raabe, President of OpinionWorks. "Sheila Dixon has been matched and potentially overtaken by Catherine Pugh. People who decided recently are going toward Pugh."

Click here for more.

The cross tabs for the The Baltimore Sun/ University of Baltimore pre-primary likely voter poll, March 4-8, 2016, are available here.

Poll Methodology:

There are differences in how polls are conducted that can help explain differences in poll results.  Our Maryland pre-primary polls employ a voter file-based methodology.  To be eligible to participate in the poll, a voter must be listed on the official statewide database of registered voters and have a code that indicates he or she voted in one of the past two primaries for which they were eligible, or registered to vote since the last election.  A random sample of this database is matched with both landline and wireless telephone numbers and called.  Voters are screened to assess their intention to vote in the upcoming primary, and those rating their likelihood as 6 or higher on a 10-point scale are included in the survey sample.

Unlike many other states, Maryland has a closed, partisan primary system.  Our polling method does the best job of identifying and interviewing voters who will likely vote in a low-turnout closed primary system like this.  The weakness of our method is that it can under-represent a surge in first-time or infrequent voters – a possibility that is lessened by the closed nature of Maryland’s primaries.  The strength of this method is that we can be very sure the voters we are interviewing are truly likely to vote in the upcoming election.

Understand the attitudes and perceptions of the public.  
Know how to engage your audience.

OpinionWorks is a team of talented researchers and writers promoting the public good, focused on environmental stewardship, healthy behaviors, access to education, culture and the arts, human services, economic development, and customer satisfaction.

We believe that understanding people's priorities will result in better public policy, stronger non-profits, more effective communications, and more satisfied customers.

Measuring Constituent Engagement

OpinionWorks specializes in measuring constituent engagement for non-profit organizations such as Lutheran World
 Relief and Physicians for Peace.  This work includes measuring donor and volunteer engagement, pinpointing a distinctive brand identity, and identifying the organization's unique opportunities for a higher public profile.

 Measuring Citizen Stewardship

OpinionWorks is privileged to have been selected by the Chesapeake Bay Trust in 2015 to develop and conduct an innovative Chesapeake Behavior Index, an EPA-funded initiative to measure progress towards a new goal of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.

The updated Watershed Agreement, signed by the six Bay states, District of Columbia, and Federal Government in 2014, for the first time includes a goal for Citizen Stewardship.  The signatories to the Agreement understand that the health of our waters requires much more than regulatory action, legislation, or large capital projects.  For a healthy Bay, we need the individual participation of the 17 million residents who live within the drainage area of the Chesapeake.

Each resident is a steward of his on her own actions – at home, in our own yards, at work and school, as we move around our neighborhoods and towns, and beyond.  Small actions by each of us will add up to much healthier waters, leading to safer places for our kids and pets to swim; local fish, crabs, oysters, and clams that are much safer to eat; and a Bay that returns to a healthier condition that some can remember from decades ago.

Once developed, this Index will be a public instrument that will keep everyone informed of progress towards the Citizen Stewardship Goal:

Increase the number and the diversity of local citizen stewards and local governments that actively support and carry out the conservation and restoration activities that achieve healthy local streams, rivers and a vibrant Chesapeake Bay.