Poll Shows Broad Support for Housing Reform in Maryland

A new poll shows most Maryland voters are ahead of their elected officials on housing reform, with majorities in favor of proposals that lawmakers have been slow to embrace.

The poll, commissioned by Greater Greater Washington and conducted during the last two weeks of February by YouGov Blue, found that housing is among the top three concerns for Maryland voters, outranked only by inflation and crime. In Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, housing ranks No. 1.

More than seven in ten voters agreed that the state should take action to address the availability and cost of housing, with majority support for laws to allow:

● More homes near rail stations (61%)
● Non-profits and churches to build subsidized, income-restricted homes on their land (60%)
● Townhouses, duplexes, and apartments to be built in areas zoned for single-family homes (55%).
● Manufactured homes in areas zoned for single-family homes (53%)

The results indicate that some of the ideas that have generated vociferous objections from anti-development activists are actually popular with most voters. For example, elected officials in Montgomery County have been reluctant to allow “missing middle” housing types such as townhouses, duplexes and small apartment buildings in areas now zoned exclusively for single-family detached houses for fear of sparking a political backlash.

In addition to testing support for specific legislative proposals, the poll asked broader questions about housing and found that voters:

● Acknowledge that people at a wide range of incomes face a shortage of opportunities to rent or buy housing
● Believe local governments are not doing enough to address this shortage
● Agree that housing affordability is a statewide concern, and they want elected leaders at the state level to help solve the problem by requiring
local governments to allow more housing in more places

The poll also shows that voters are receptive to Gov. Wes Moore’s housing agenda, although most said they were not familiar with his legislative ideas. Moore has introduced bills to pre-empt local zoning rules barring affordable duplexes, triplexes, and apartments near transit and prohibiting manufactured homes.

More detailed results are available, including a slide deck, toplines, and crosstabs.