Republican Gov. Paul LePage has a significant lead over Democratic nominee Mike Michaud and independent Eliot Cutler has near 20 percent support, according to new poll data released Thursday by Pan Atlantic SMS, which surveyed 400 Maine residents in the final week of September.
Including “leaning” voters, LePage leads the race with 39.3 percent support, followed by Michaud with 33.6 percent and Cutler with 19.5 percent. About 7.8 percent of voters were undecided.
Pan Atlantic has regularly shown stronger support for Cutler than most other polling firms, but if the results are accurate, they reflect a surge in support for Cutler — compared to a range of results from other polling firms in recent months that have had Cutler in the low teens — that he has been counting on throughout his campaign. However, Cutler’s support has actually dropped a point since a Pan Atlantic poll in April and is on par with where the independent has polled with Pan Atlantic since November 2013. They are also welcome news for the LePage campaign, which has been depending on Michaud and Cutler splitting the left-leaning vote.
The Michaud campaign’s quick reaction was that the Pan Atlantic poll differs from every other poll that has been published in the governor’s race this year and that internal polling conducted by the campaign this week still showed Michaud in the lead. The Cutler campaign said the new poll shows the beginning edge of a dramatic swing among voters that mirrors what happened in 2010 when Cutler finished a close second to LePage.
The Pan Atlantic results varied significantly from new CBS/New York Times poll results which were also released Thursday, which show Michaud maintaining a narrow lead over LePage and a very dismal result for Cutler.
That poll, which sampled more than 1,500 voters between Sept. 20 and Oct. 1, found 37 percent support for Michaud, 35 percent for LePage and 10 percent for Cutler. The results showed that there are still undecided voters our there and a significant number who said they could still change their mind before election day. About 13 percent of respondents said they still aren’t sure who they’ll vote for.
For deeper analysis what all of this means, click here.