Only 39 percent think Maine’s headed in ‘right direction’ — and that’s a 7-year high

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud greets supporters at a Labor Day event held by the Eastern Maine Labor Council in 2010. BDN photo by Bridget Brown.

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud greets supporters at a Labor Day event held by the Eastern Maine Labor Council in 2010. BDN photo by Bridget Brown.

According to a recent poll by Portland’s Pan Atlantic SMS Group, Mainers confidence in the state’s direction has hit a seven-year high, with nearly 39 percent of respondents saying they liked where Maine is going.

That number doesn’t seem high — because it’s not — but it’s higher than any time July 2006, when confidence topped 40 percent. Besides, the number of respondents who say Maine is headed in the “wrong direction” is still nearly 10 points higher, at 48.5 percent, though that number has decreased, generally, from recent years. The firm has asked the question once or twice per year since at least 2005.

The question was just one of many on a plethora of state and national topics asked by Pan Atlantic, which polled 400 registered, likely voters from Nov. 25 to Nov. 30. The poll’s margin of error is 4.9 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. The firm used live interviewers, and included a 20 percent sample — 80 respondents — of cell phone users. Responses were weighted to reflect Maine’s age demographic.

Let’s start with the most interesting insights into Maine’s gubernatorial race. You can see the full poll here.

  • The favorability rating of Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, Republican Gov. Paul LePage and independent businessman Eliot Cutler all took a hit since March, though a majority (55 percent) still have a favorable view of Michaud, the only gubernatorial candidate to boast that figure, despite losing 5.8 points. LePage fell from 46.9 percent favorability to 43.1 percent (the governor is also the only one with higher unfavorables than favorables; Cutler fell from 42.4 percent to 38.5 percent.
  • More than 86.2 percent of respondents said that Michaud’s disclosure that he is gay “does not matter,” while 9.3 percent said it would factor into their election choice in a “negative way” and 3.9 percent said it would factor in “a positive way.”
  • Republicans are more solidly for their candidate (67.2 percent said they’d vote for LePage) than Democrats, among whom 56.4 percent said they’d vote for Michaud. More than twice as many Democrats (21 percent) said they plan to vote for Cutler than Republicans. 
  • Also, more than two-thirds of Michaud and Cutler supporters (67.9 percent, combined) said they’d consider voting strategically to defeat LePage if their preferred candidate were polling “significantly behind” the other two contenders as Election Day approached. More of Michaud’s supporters (70 percent) said they’d vote strategically than Cutler’s (62.2 percent).
  • The bright side for Cutler? More respondents are unsure of how they assess him than view him unfavorably. His unfavorable/unsure score is 27.3/34.2. That means there’s lots of room for him to make a good impression.
  • If the election were held tomorrow, 37.3 percent responded that they either would vote for Michaud or are leaning toward him, compared to 36 percent for LePage and 18.3 percent for Cutler. Since Michaud announced his candidacy, his numbers are up 14.5 percent while Cutler’s are done 7.3 percent. Michaud also picked up a lot of support from undecideds, which were 18.1 percent in March and just 8.4 percent in November.
  • Exactly half of the 58 self-identified Franco-Mainers said they’d vote for LePage. Michaud’s support was strongest among women (43.7 percent) and worst among men (30.4 percent). In voter breakouts, Cutler topped out at 19 percent.
  • LePage is the most divisive of the three candidates, with 52 percent saying they would not consider voting for the incumbent governor.

Check back later today for more poll results on national economic issues and Maine policy questions.


Mario Moretto

About Mario Moretto

Mario Moretto has been a Maine journalist, in print and online publications, since 2009. He joined the Bangor Daily News in 2012, first as a general assignment reporter in his native Hancock County and, now, in the State House. Mario left the BDN in 2015.