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:
- Maine’s U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King headed to Texas to see the border children crisis with their own eyes. Here’s their take on the issue.
- In an off-the-cuff comment last week, Gov. Paul LePage said the state should give up on pursuing federal accreditation and funding for the troubled Riverview Psychiatric Hospital. Despite LePage’s big idea, DHHS is continuing to seek approval for the twice-denied facility.
- A disgruntled former state employee had claimed the state was routinely overpaying for architecture and design contracts. An internal audit told a different story
- Republicans are fielding a nearly full slate of candidates in their effort to wrest control of the Maine House of Representatives from Democrats, who are leaving several seats uncontested. Here’s BDN State House Bureau Chief Chris Cousins’ look at the numbers.
- First-term Democratic State House Rep. Paul McGowan of Cape Neddick died unexpectedly last week, just weeks after announcing he’d not run for re-election because of ongoing, unexplained health issues.
- Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Shenna Bellows is wrapping up her 350-mile walking campaign from Houlton to Kittery. She stopped in Bangor last week to share some stories she’s heard from Mainers along her way.
- Here’s a twofer: LePage isn’t turning up for many political debates and Michaud won’t go if LePage doesn’t. Meanwhile, in the 2nd Congressional District, Republican Bruce Poliquin won’t attend debates if independent Blaine Richardson is there, and Democrat Emily Cain won’t go if he isn’t. In all this wrangling, the loser may be the public who, rather than hearing the candidates debate the issues, are hearing them debate debates.