Yet another poll has shown Democratic candidate Mike Michaud leading the pack in the governor’s race, but by a margin still too small to offer the six-term U.S. congressman much comfort.
The newest poll, commissioned by the national right-leaning pollster Rasmussen Reports, showed Michaud four points ahead of incumbent Republican Gov. Paul LePage, 43 to 39. Independent candidate Eliot Cutler trails behind at 15 percent. Just 4 percent told Rasmussen they were undecided.
The poll surveyed 750 likely Maine voters. Rasmussen uses automated voice surveys to interview respondents over land line telephones. It also uses randomized online surveys to capture voters who don’t have land lines. Rasmussen weights results for fixed demographics such as age, gender and geographic location. It also weights results based on political party, a practice that some pollsters say is inappropriate.
The results echo many earlier polls that have shown Michaud with a lead that fell within the margin of error. Taken as a whole, the trend indicates that Michaud does indeed carry a lead with the electorate, but it’s a small one, which could be lost during the remaining weeks of the gubernatorial campaign.
Huffington Post, which has been tracking public polls of the governor’s race, says aggregate polling indicates Michaud has a real lead of about 6.5 points over LePage. Real Clear Politics, which is also tracking the polls says the lead is smaller (3.3 points), but still has Michaud ahead.
Rasmussen’s poll was conducted between September 3-4, days before Michaud would be attacked by his opponents over a TV ad that passed off a press release from the Congressman as a news story, or the release of a secret recording in which a prominent Democratic state senator questioned Michaud’s intelligence.
However, it also took place after popular independent U.S. Sen. Angus King endorsed Eliot Cutler. Despite the well-publicized endorsement, the results of the new survey showed Cutler received just a 1-point bump since the last Rasmussen poll, in April. The new survey also took place after LePage’s allies began sending attack ads against Michaud to mailboxes throughout the state, but Michaud’s lead was seemingly unaffected.
All that is to say that despite everything that happened in the campaign so far, Michaud is still ahead, just like he’s been all year.
Still, there’s still 55 days until Election Day, and there’s still a lot of money to be spent, TV ads to be aired, debates to be had and voters’ minds to be swayed. So no one — not even the apparent front-runner — is going to be coasting just yet.