- The Maine Wire - https://www.themainewire.com -

Poll: Maine Governor’s race is dead heat

Three Gov Candidates - LePage, Cutler, Michaud - smallA poll out Wednesday morning shows Republican Gov. Paul LePage with a slight lead over both opponents in his reelection bid.

LePage leads the gubernatorial contest with 38.6 percent to Democratic U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud’s 37.3 percent. Independent Eliot Cutler won 20.3 percent of voters.

Statistically, the race is a dead heat between LePage and Michaud. But the poll also offers more bad news for Democrats: With one in five likely voters supporting him, Cutler is going nowhere.

The poll was conducted by Pan Atlantic SMS Group, a Portland-based market research firm. The sample size was 400 Maine residents even divided over Maine’s congressional districts.

A similar poll conducted by Pan Atlantic in November found Michaud (37) with a one point lead on LePage (36). In that poll, 18 percent said they would vote for Cutler. Comparing the two polls shows LePage and Cutler’s support growing while Michaud’s has remained relatively flat.

The poll deviates sharply from Democratic polls touted by the Michaud campaign, the most recent of which showed Michaud winning 44 percent and Cutler below 20 percent. That poll, which heavily over-sampled Democrats, was largely rejected by Maine political commentators. And, unlike the last poll, Pan Atlantic’s used real live interviewers rather than robots, which means it’s probably more accurate.

Republicans and the LePage campaign touted the poll as a sign of strength, noting that the poll shows LePage winning more votes than he did in 2010.

“This poll makes clear what we already know, the naysayers who claim Governor LePage’s support would never grow were simply wrong, and more and more Maine people are going to reward Governor LePage for his hard work to create jobs, fix Maine’s budget, and reform welfare with their votes in November,” said Maine GOP Executive Director Jason Savage.

Savage said Michaud’s campaign is “stuck in neutral and going nowhere.”

Brent Littlefield, top adviser to LePage, said the poll likely underestimates LePage’s support. “Taken the origin of the survey as well as the trends, the actual numbers on these specific questions are likely even more favorable for the Governor than what is demonstrated in their report,” said Littlefield.

Some other noteworthy points from the poll: