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Brown Holds Early 20 Percent Lead In Maryland Democratic Primary, Poll Says

Lt. Governor of Maryland Anthony Brown speaks to supporters during a rally as he kickoff his 2014 campaign for Maryland Governor at Prince George's Community College in Largo, Md., Friday, May 10, 2013.
( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Lt. Governor of Maryland Anthony Brown speaks to supporters during a rally as he kickoff his 2014 campaign for Maryland Governor at Prince George's Community College in Largo, Md., Friday, May 10, 2013.

The first independent poll on next year's Democratic primary for governor of Maryland shows one candidate with a commanding lead.

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown leads Attorney General Doug Gansler 41 to 21 percent in the Gonzales Research poll of likely voters (pdf). Montgomery County delegate Heather Mizeur is in third at 5 percent.

The poll, which was not limited exclusively to registered Democrats, also shows that a third are still undecided on who'll they pick.

The survey was taken during the first two weeks of this month, meaning a report of Gansler's alleged misuse of his state police escort came out during the final days of polling, so it's unclear whether it had any effect on the results.

Gansler and Brown had the same unfavorable rating: 4 percent in the poll. But Brown's favorable mark was 40 percent, while Gansler's was just 24. This could reflect his greater name recognition — only 18 percent of those surveyed failed to recognize Brown's name, compared to 37 percent for Gansler and 79 percent for Mizeur.

If anything could give Brown pause in the poll, it's that his boss' approval rating is at its lowest in three years. As many as 48 percent of state voters approve of the job Gov. Martin O'Malley is doing, while the same amount disapprove. The represents the highest disapproval rate he's had since 2008.

Brown's campaign has taken on the mantle of what has been passed during O'Malley's tenure, while Gansler has broken with the governor on several tax issues, as well as the repeal of the death penalty.

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