A new poll in the gubernatorial race by Pan Atlantic SMS, a firm whose polls have shown stronger support for independent Eliot Cutler than most other surveys, shows Cutler about 7 percentage points down from where he was last month and most of that lost support contributing to a boost for Democratic nominee Mike Michaud.
The Cutler campaign dismissed the idea that his support is shifting to Michaud. “That is the Democrats’ narrative because their candidate has failed to get the job done against Paul LePage,” said Cutler Campaign Manager Ted O’Meara in a written statement Tuesday morning.
Including leaners, the survey of 400 Maine residents between Oct. 15 and 21 shows Republican incumbent Paul LePage with 40.3 percent support, Michaud with 39.7 percent and Cutler with 12.7 percent.
A poll conducted by Pan Atlantic in September had LePage at 39.3 percent, Michaud at 33.6 percent and Cutler at 19.5 percent. The number of survey respondents who said they were undecided was about 7.4 percent, which is about the same as the poll found last month.
There are more interesting data from Pan Atlantic regarding the governor’s race.
- The argument that Cutler losing support would benefit both LePage and Michaud is true, though much more true for Michaud. Beyond the fact that Cutler’s 7-point decline led to a 6-point boost for Michaud and 1-point boost for LePage, the poll found that Cutler still has support from a higher percentage of Democrats (12.8 percent) and independents (18.3 percent) than Republicans (6.3 percent). In September, Cutler had 17 percent of Democrats behind him, 19.2 percent of Republicans and 21.6 percent of independents.
- Michaud’s support from independents rose 5.6 percent while LePage’s declined by 3.8 percent. This could be an indication that in addition to an apparent shift away from Cutler, some voters are also turning away from LePage.
Michaud continues to enjoy more support from women than LePage, who is significantly ahead among men. This is not new.
Interestingly, LePage is ahead of Michaud among voters in the 2nd Congressional District, which includes central and northern Maine. While the northern district is more conservative than the southern one, the fact that Michaud has represented the 2nd District for so long in Congress would seem to lead to strong support there. It hasn’t, at least compared to LePage, according to Pan Atlantic. In addition, Cutler’s support in the 1st District has declined nearly identically since the last Pan Atlantic poll to Michaud’s growing support there, 9.2 percent versus 9.4 percent, respectively.
In other results:
- Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Susan Collins continues to poll far ahead of Democratic challenger Shenna Bellows, 67 percent to 27 percent, with about 6.5 percent undecided.
- Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree is dominant in the 1st Congressional District, with 62 percent support compared to Republican Isaac Misiuk (18 percent) and independent Richard Murphy (6 percent).
- The 2nd Congressional District race between Democrat Emily Cain and Bruce Poliquin looks close, with both candidates within a point of 38 percent (the poll says Cain has a very slight lead) and independent Blaine Richardson at 7.6 percent. Nearly 16 percent of 2nd District voters were undecided. It should be noted that the poll surveyed only about 200 people in each congressional district, resulting in a relatively high margin of error of near 7 percent.
- Opinions on Question 1, the bear-baiting initiative, are tightening up, though support for “No”, which would reject the proposed new rules, remains ahead, 51 percent to 42 percent, with more than 7 percent still undecided. Passage of the proposed new rules has far more support in the 1st Congressional District (47.7 percent) than it does in the 2nd (35.3 percent).