Maine’s top-rated pollster on Thursday released a new poll showing Republican Gov. Paul LePage leading the race for Maine governor by almost six points.
Polling on the race so far has shown LePage statistically even with Democratic candidate U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud, while independent Eliot Cutler has trailed in third place. But according to Pan Atlantic SMS‘s poll of 400 Maine residents, LePage now leads the pack with 39 percent of respondents saying they would vote for him. Thirty-three percent of respondents said they would vote for Michaud and 19 percent said they would pull the lever for Cutler.
The poll is just one measure of the competitive three-way race and, as with any measure of public opinion, it should be taken with a grain of salt. But the release is incontestably good news for LePage. The poll is also good news for Cutler as he looks to recreate the trend from October of 2010, when Democratic voters fled Democrat Libby Mitchell for his corner. Any sign of dropping support for Michaud cold signal the beginning of a shift in Democratic voters to the left-of-center independent.
From Pan Atlantic’s report:
Paul LePage’s numbers have remained steady in our past three polls, while this latest poll shows a small slippage in Mike Michaud’s numbers.
Michaud’s supporter quickly sought to discount the Pan Atlantic poll as an outlier and pointed instead to a New York Times/CBS poll, also released Thursday, which showed a significantly different race and relied on a far larger sample size. That poll pegged Michaud and LePage’s support at 37 percent and 35 percent, respectively, with Cutler at 10 percent.
One big takeaway from the poll is how strong LePage’s support is among likely voters who are not enrolled in either the Republican or Democratic Party. According to the poll report, 41.4 percent of independent respondents favored LePage, while 28.4 percent and 21.6 percent of independents said they support Michaud and Cutler, respectively.
Here’s the Pan Atlantic poll report: