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How Far is Ehrlich Behind in Maryland?

In the first survey taken since Montgomery Country Executive Doug Duncan dropped out of the Democratic primary in the Maryland Governor's race last week, a Washington Post poll shows Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich trailing Democrat Martin O'Malley by 11 points among registered voters and by 16 points among those "absolutely certain" to vote. The Ehrlich campaign took issue with the poll, without delving into specifics:

Ehrlich declined to comment, but aides said they did not believe he trailed by such a large margin; communications director Paul E. Schurick said the campaign's most recent poll, conducted in mid-May, showed O'Malley ahead by 5 points.

"We've always known this was going to be an incredibly difficult and close race," Schurick said. "But there is something in this poll that strikes us as wrong."

The only other recent poll in the race, an April 18 survey of 500 likely voters by Scott Rasmussen, showed Ehrlich trailing O'Malley by nine points, 42-51.

That was before Duncan dropped out, of course, so it seems plausible Ehrlich is trailing by double digits right now. Either way, the race is going to be exceedingly close in the end, and while I wouldn't count Ehrlich out just yet, he is certainly going to have to fight tooth and nail to hold onto his job.