King to stump with Michaud on Monday; Nate Silver predicts gubernatorial race

Democratic gubernatorial candidate and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud last week in Portland. BDN photo by Troy R. Bennett.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud. BDN file photo by Troy R. Bennett.

Mike Michaud will campaign Monday afternoon with his newest high-profile supporter, independent U.S. Sen. Angus King.

King had previously bestowed his endorsement on independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler but switched to Michaud this week after Cutler, recognizing his poor showing in the polls, released his supporters to vote for another candidate.

Michaud, a six-term Democratic U.S. congressman, and King will appear together at the New Balance shoe factory in Skowhegan. Afterward, the duo will visit other Skowhegan-area businesses, according to a news release from Michaud’s campaign.

King, a popular former governor and public television personality, will be the latest high-profile supporter to appear with Michaud in the waning days of the campaign. The Democrat was lauded by President Barack Obama at a Portland rally on Thursday, and received Hillary Clinton at a rally in Scarborough the previous week.

Michaud’s Republican opponent, incumbent Gov. Paul LePage, will rally supporters in Bangor on Monday with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who’s visiting Maine for the fifth time during the campaign. Christie’s Republican Governors Association has been the largest independent spender in this year’s gubernatorial contest, dumping millions of dollars into the state to support LePage.

Nate Silver gives narrow edge to Michaud in Blaine House prediction

The renowned statistician behind the former-New York Times, now-ESPN blog FiveThirtyEight has released his predictions for this year’s gubernatorial contests, including Maine.

Nate Silver first gained national acclaim for the accuracy of his political predictions in 2008 and became perhaps the best known statistician in the country in 2012 when he accurately predicted the presidential winner in all 50 states.

Silver says that in Maine, Michaud has a better chance at victory than LePage — but just barely. He puts Michaud’s chance of victory at 56 percent.

And, as observers have been saying all along, it’s all down to independent candidate Eliot Cutler. Silver says that Cutler’s decision to release his supporters — while still staying in the race — may just be enough to tip Michaud in an otherwise deadlocked race.

Silver wrote:

This is an unusual circumstance: Cutler, in essence, halfway dropped out of the race. So in the absence of any polls conducted since his announcement, we’re assuming that Cutler will lose half his vote, which will be redistributed to Michaud and LePage. But we’re not assuming those votes will be distributed equally.

Instead, it’s likely that Michaud will benefit more from the news; Cutler takes left-of-center policy positions that are largely similar to Michaud’s. This is confirmed in a number of polls — conducted before Cutler’s announcement — that asked about the second choice of his supporters. They found, on average, that 64 percent of his vote would go to Michaud and 36 percent to LePage. So our model takes half of Cutler’s vote from any polls conducted before his announcement and gives 64 percent of it to Michaud (and the rest to LePage). This is enough to make Michaud a narrow favorite in the race (our model gives him a 56 percent chance to win). Without the extra votes from Cutler, his chances would be 36 percent.

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. Mario left the BDN in 2015.