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Poll shows Ehrlich moving ahead

September 17, 2002|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

A poll released Monday showed Republican Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. ahead of Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend for the first time in the governor's race.

But Ehrlich's advantage, 46 percent to Townsend's 43 percent, was not strong enough for him to declare the lead.

The Mason-Dixon poll conducted Thursday and Friday had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Eleven percent of the 625 voters surveyed by telephone were undecided.

Support for Ehrlich was strongest in Western Maryland, where 60 percent said they would vote for him compared to 34 percent for Townsend.

Larry Harris, an official with the Mason-Dixon Poll, told WRC-TV that Townsend had reason to be concerned.

"Her negative rating is twice that of Ehrlich's," said Harris. "It's a wake-up call."

The Townsend campaign did not seem concerned. In a statement to the television station, it took a swipe at Ehrlich, describing him as her "right wing, ultraconservative opponent." The statement said that when voters compare the candidates, "Townsend will win comfortably on Nov. 5."

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Ehrlich spokesman Paul Schurick said the candidate was encouraged by the poll results, which mirror recent polls the campaign has conducted.

But he said he expects that Townsend will begin attacking Ehrlich to try to make up the ground she has lost.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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