It looks like Clinton won the debate. Will she gain an edge?

Good morning from Augusta, where I’m recovering from a late night watching last night’s historic presidential debate at the Bangor Daily News’ watch party in Portland.

Nobody in that liberal bastion seemed to think Republican Donald Trump bested Democrat Hillary Clinton. Our crews fanned out across the state captured more diverse reactions. “Who won the debate?” can be a rote question, simply because it demands an answer that reflects your politics.

But according to polling, Clinton won, and it wasn’t particularly close. In CNN’s post-debate poll, 62 percent said she had the better night to Trump’s 27 percent. That was the third-widest margin in either CNN or Gallup polling going back to 1984, according to FiveThirtyEight.

To me, this was because Trump dominated the conversation —  he got 79 percent of debate mentions on Facebook and 62 percent on Twitter but failed to land many punches on Clinton. He was often attacking her or responding to her attacks, but she still mostly avoided discussion on her vulnerable subjects, such as her email scandal and the Clinton Foundation.

On the other hand, Trump made some gaffes that could come to attack ads soon, saying he was “smart” for not paying income taxes, for example.

Will it matter? President Barack Obama lost the first debate to Republican Mitt Romney in 2012, but he went on to perform better and win the election. FiveThirtyEight has observed 4-point polling bumps after the first debate, so it’s likely that Clinton could get one. But like with Romney, it may not last.

However, a bump now would be important, since the race is virtually neck-and-neck, with Clinton slightly ahead, according to RealClearPolitics. Whatever happens could have implications for Maine, where a poll last week found Clinton even with Trump statewide. But it’ll take more polling to see where we stand. — Michael Shepherd

Some quibbles with 2nd District ads on Poliquin taxes, Cain bill

Two new ads from Democratic 2nd Congressional District candidate Emily Cain and a national Republican group boosting U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin take a couple of arguments dating back to their 2014 campaign just a bit too far.

Cain released an ad last week hitting Poliquin on the most-used attack against him during his political career: His use of a program that allowed him to pay just $21 in property taxes in one year on 10 acres of his 12-acre, $3 million coastal estate in Georgetown. I’ve been over and over the facts of this, and here’s an explainer.

The Maine Tree Growth Program is meant to encourage commercial forestry, but Poliquin was largely prohibited by deed from harvesting trees. Although he harvested some, a state report in 2009 cited his property as an example of “problematic enrollment.”

But Cain’s ad goes slightly over the line when a logger says Poliquin paid just $21 in taxes on “his oceanfront estate.” That was just for the 10-acre parcel. He paid a full amount of taxes on the other two acres. It’s a small quibble, but an important point.

The other ad, a radio spot from the National Republican Congressional Committee, spins a low-key bill proposed in the Maine Legislature by Cain in 2007 that was killed by a legislative committee. It would have required schools to collect height and weight data of students in kindergarten and odd-numbered grades up to 9.

But the NRCC’s ad calls the idea “a massive violation of our kids’ privacy” even though the screening would have been confidential — like other health data — and reported by the state on an aggregate basis. The bill also would have allowed parents to get kids out of it by citing a personal objection.

Was it necessary? The Legislature didn’t think so. But the idea was more benign than it seems here. — Michael Shepherd

Reading list

Best of Maine’s Craigslist

  • A pawsome deal: Someone in Sanford is selling a pretty large dog wardrobe, including hoodies, a Snuggie and a rhinestone collar. Here’s a helpful guide to when your dog may need to wear clothes and here’s your soundtrack.
  • ‘Lol, trust me’ with a sensitive topic: You can get “vitamins for sexual health” delivered by someone in South Portland who advises you to “just be ready because you’ll take it then other people will start expecting great thing, lol, trust me.” — Michael Shepherd
Michael Shepherd

About Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after covering state, federal and local issues for the Kennebec Journal for three years. He's a Hallowell native who now lives in Gardiner. He graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 and is a graduate student at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service.