Democratic Rep. David Trone is neck and neck with former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan in the 2024 race to replace retiring Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), according to a new poll.

A Goucher College/Baltimore Banner survey released Tuesday found that 43% of registered voters said they would vote for Hogan, a Republican, in November, compared with 42% who said they would vote for Trone — with 10% undecided.

A majority of Republicans (73%) and independent voters (59%) would vote for Hogan in the general election, while 62% of Democrats said they would support their party’s candidate if it is Trone.

The three-term Maryland Democrat still needs to win the state’s May 14 Democratic primary against Prince George’s County executive Angela Alsobrooks.

Hogan’s lead increases above the poll’s margin of error when placed in a head-to-head matchup with Alsobrooks, with 44% of registered voters backing the former Maryland governor and 40% casting their ballot for the county executive — with 11% undecided.

Similarly, GOP and independent voters in the state plan to vote for Hogan by 76% and 63%, respectively, whereas 60% of Democrats said they would vote for Alsobrooks if she clinches the Senate nomination for the 2024 election.

The Goucher/Baltimore Banner poll surveyed 800 registered voters in Maryland from March 19 to 24, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

On March 21, Trone made national headlines after he admitted to accidentally uttering a racial slur for African Americans during an exchange in a hearing with White House Office of Management and Budget Director Shalnda Young, who is black.

“So this Republican j—boo that it’s the tax rate that’s stopping business investment, it’s just completely faulty by people who have never run a business, they’ve never been there,” said Trone, the founder and co-owner of Total Wine & More.

The wine and beer wholesaler later apologized in a statement that said he had tried to use the word “bugaboo” to attack GOP lawmakers for unreasonably criticizing President Biden’s tax proposals.

“While attempting to use the word ‘bugaboo’ in a hearing, I used a phrase that is offensive. That word has a long, dark, terrible history,” Trone said.

“It should never be used any time, anywhere, in any conversation. I recognize that as a white man, I have privilege. And as an elected official, I have a responsibility for the words I use—especially in the heat of the moment. Regardless of what I meant to say, I shouldn’t have used that language.”

Asked by pollsters for their opinion of Hogan, Trone and Alsobrooks; only the former governor was viewed favorably by a majority of Maryland voters.

Sixty-three percent of the state’s registered voters approve of Hogan, compared with 30% who do not and 5 percent who have no opinion.

Just 43% had a favorable opinion of Trone — including a slight majority of Democrats (52%) — but 24% had an unfavorable opinion and 29% declined to give their opinion.

Even fewer Maryland voters had a favorable (38%) or unfavorable (20%) opinion of Alsobrooks, of whom a whopping 40% said they did not know what their opinion was of her.

Among Maryland Democrats, Hogan had the highest favorability rating of the three, with 57% having a positive opinion of their former governor.

The major issues for at least three-quarters of the state’s voters in picking their candidate for the general election were, in order, crime and public safety, economic development and jobs and taxes and government spending.

A plurality of voters were sanguine about Maryland, with 43% saying the state is “heading in the right direction” and 40% saying it is “off on the wrong track.”

But they were equally divided at 45% about the state’s economic prospects.

Cardin, 80, who serves as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, announced in May 2023 that he would not seek re-election at the end of this third term in office.

The race to fill his seat is among the most competitive of the 2024 cycle, as Republicans look to retake the majority in the upper chamber.

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