A new opinion piece from CNN details how Governor Hogan “has shown…how to effectively deal with and communicate during a crisis.”
Governor Hogan has built “trust” by being both “realistic and reassuring,” while being clear about “what he’s doing and why he’s doing it.”
In his role as chair of the National Governors Association, he’s advocated for his colleagues on the national stage without engaging in toxic politics, recently writing an op-ed in the New York Times “about how the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted state budgets, and how states need the federal government to prioritize the CARES Act, infrastructure and funding for state employees.” In Maryland, Governor Hogan has communicated “openly and with compassion” about the COVID-19 pandemic and the murder of George Floyd.
As a result of this leadership approach, Governor Hogan has gained “sky-high poll numbers” with Republicans, Independents, and Democrats alike.
How does a governor get sweeping approval from the opposing party
June 7, 2020
“There has been so much anxiety and anger in the country these past few months — and certainly over the last week — that a calm voice and steady hand can be very hard to find.
But in both the response to the Covid-19 global pandemic and, most recently, the nationwide protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has shown politicians and community and business leaders how to effectively deal with and communicate during a crisis.
There’s no flash or polish. He just puts his head down and works.
Hogan, a Republican, is not the face you necessarily see on TV every day at a press conference, but he’s everywhere. He’s regularly appeared on local and national newscasts, national TV shows like the Daily Show, and sports radio programs — never forgetting to make time for the smallest of local newspapers.
In his statements, Hogan has delivered important information being both realistic and reassuring.
Voters want to know that there is a road map for what’s ahead. It builds trust, so Hogan is clear on communicating what he’s doing and why he’s doing it.
In an opinion piece published on the New York Times last Sunday, the governor wrote frankly about how the Covid-19 outbreak has impacted state budgets, and how states need the federal government to prioritize the CARES Act, infrastructure and funding for state employees (like teachers and first responders). It’s a local argument for a national audience.
To follow Hogan, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford and Hogan’s communications staff, Mike Ricci and Kata Hall, on social media is to see a master class in crisis communications. It’s a ‘just the facts’ approach of getting information out to Maryland voters or, when appropriate, information in the region, or from Hogan’s role as head of the National Governors Association. They do so in an unfiltered way for people to have the information they need — like on the latest infection rates — to make wise decisions and know where things stand.
What may be more notable than what Hogan and his team are doing is what they’re not. No angry tweets, no conspiracy theories, no blaming others. There is no spin.
This should not be significant. But in 2020 it is. In conversations with colleagues and journalists in the last few years, we’ve agreed that childish tweets of name calling, trying to ‘own’ political opponents or dissidents with insults and memes, have somehow taken precedent over the tried and true tactics — the old school communications of developing and employing strategies to advance a message. Researched and developed news pitches have become the exception. And this is happening in congressional offices, party committees and the White House itself. Hogan’s office is quite the opposite.
It’s almost quaint. But it’s surely been effective.
Look no further than Hogan’s poll numbers. True, practically every governor has higher approval on their handling of Covid-19 compared to President Donald Trump — as a Washington Post poll showed that 49 out of 50 governors have cleared that low bar. But the poll also shows Hogan right at the top with a 77% approval rating among Democratic-leaning voters.
Most of the credit the governor has received has been due to his work regarding Covid-19. But his remarks around the killing of George Floyd were noteworthy and continued the Hogan style of communicating openly and with compassion.
On the Today Show, Hogan spoke of how he ‘walked the streets face to face and calmly talked to folks’ during Baltimore’s unrest days after Freddie Gray’s police killing in 2015. Hogan used the phrase ‘lower the temperature’ twice, describing not only what he did then, but what he is seeking to do now.
Deft hands don’t always get recognized, especially in a culture and political environment where the loudest voices often dominate. And while sky-high poll numbers may be impossible to maintain forever, Hogan has shown both parties that shock and awe rhetoric is not necessary.
Hogan’s work sets an example to other state leaders on how to cope with hectic situations like the ones we’re going through these days. Level with your voters, give them the information they need, let them know you care about them and have a plan of action. They will respond.”