Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud continues to poll ahead of Gov. Paul LePage and independent Eliot Cutler in another poll that’s interesting, but probably means little about the outcome of the race.
In addition to showing U.S. Rep. Michaud with a 7-point lead over 2nd-place LePage, the Public Policy Polling results show 57 percent support for expanding Medicaid in Maine under the provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act, with 35 percent against it and 8 percent “not sure.”
Public Policy Polling works exclusively for Democratic candidates and compared to Maine voter registration data, this poll over-sampled Democrats and under-sampled independents. Among the 583 voters surveyed, 40 percent identified themselves as Democrats, 32 percent as Republicans and 28 percent, independents.
The Secretary of State’s latest data from last month shows that among active voters in Maine, 32 percent are registered as Democrats; 4 percent as Green Independents; 27 percent as Republicans and 37 percent as independents.
First, the governor’s race: According to the poll, Michaud had 44 percent support compared to 37 percent for LePage and 14 percent for Cutler.
Though I’m far from a polling expert, the way the questions were worded could conceivably push some respondents toward support for Medicaid expansion. On one hand, it could be argued that the questions state the simple facts, though they don’t account for arguments from the GOP that the expansion would cost the state hundreds of millions in extra spending in the long term. It also makes no mention of the controversial Affordable Care Act pushed through by President Barack Obama. Here’s the question:
“Maine is eligible to receive new federal funding to pay for health care through the Medicaid program. Do you think the Maine state government should accept this federal funding to expand Medicaid coverage, or not?”
The next question in the poll zeroes in on LePage’s fierce opposition to Medicaid expansion.
“Gov. Paul LePage vetoed accepting federal funding to expand Medicaid in Maine. Does that make you more or less likely to vote for him, or does it not make a difference?”
About 30 percent of respondents said LePage’s vetoes would make them more likely to vote for him, compared to 45 percent who said the vetoes would make them vote against the incumbent governor. Another 25 percent said LePage’s opposition to expansion wouldn’t make a difference or that they’re “not sure.”
“Mike Michaud, candidate for governor, supports accepting federal funding to expand Medicaid in Maine. Does that make you more or less likely to vote for him, or does it not make a difference?”
About 39 percent said Michaud’s stance on expansion would make them more likely to vote for him, 33 percent said less likely and 28 percent said it wouldn’t make a difference or that they weren’t sure.