New poll: LePage, Michaud margin still razor thin, and 7 stories you need to read

The candidates for governor in 2014: Democrat and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, incumbent Republican Gov. Paul LePage, and independent businessman Eliot Cutler.

The candidates for governor in 2014: Democrat and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, incumbent Republican Gov. Paul LePage, and independent businessman Eliot Cutler.

A new statewide poll by the Maine People’s Resource Center shows the race for the Blaine House still a dead heat between incumbent Republican Gov. Paul LePage and his Democratic challenger, U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud. Eliot Cutler, a second-time independent candidate, continues to languish in third, lagging about 30 points behind the frontrunners

A survey of nearly 800 likely Maine voters showed Michaud with a narrow lead, edging LePage by just 1.2 percent — well within the 3.47 percent margin of error. Michaud is polling at 42.6 percent to LePage’s 41.4 percent. Cutler is polling at 12.6 percent. Less than 4 percent of respondents said they were still undecided.

The poll fits neatly with polling trends documented by both Real Clear Politics and the Huffington Post, both of which are compiling and tracking polling data as it is released. The long-term trend has shown LePage and Michaud neck-and-neck, with Michaud leading more often than not, but nearly always within the margin of error.

(A note on the HuffPo poll tracker: Unlike RCP, HuffPo has included a recent CBS/New York Times poll that asked respondents to choose between only the partisan candidates, leaving Cutler out entirely. That data point skewed the recent trend line heavily in Michaud’s favor, but should be considered an outlier.)

MPRC, the polling arm of the liberal Maine People’s Alliance, also asked survey respondents several pocketbook questions. Among the interesting results:

  • Roughly six out of 10 respondents said they support raising Maine’s minimum wage from $7.50 per hour to $10.10 per hour. About 58 percent of those who support a minimum wage hike said it should apply to tipped workers such as bartenders and servers.
  • Nearly 7 out of 10 respondents said they support requiring businesses with 15 or more employees to allow workers to earn up to five paid sick days per year; 56.2 percent of respondents said they have gone to work sick because they could not afford to take time off.

Women generally supported the proposed economic initiatives more than men; 67.6 percent of women respondents supported the minimum wage increase, compared to 57 percent of men. More than three-quarters of women said they though businesses should be required to offer sick time, compared with 62.4 percent of men.

The poll was conducted July 26 through 28. Results were weighted by age, gender and location, but not political party identification or ideology. To see the complete poll and methodology, click here.

7 stories you need to read

Every Monday, we direct you to 7 stories from last week in #mepolitics that you should read if you want to stay ahead of the curve and impress your friends. Here’s the list:

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.