Poll shows little change in race for governor

Russ Dillingham | Sun Journal

A Public Policy Polling survey released today through Politico shows the race for Maine governor to be virtually unchanged since the firm‘s last poll three months ago.

That last PPP poll in August showed Congressman Mike Michaud with 39% of the vote, Governor Paul LePage with 35%, Eliot Cutler with 18% and 10% undecided. Today’s numbers are 38% for Michaud, 36% for LePage, 15% for Cutler and 10% undecided. None of these small changes rise to the level of statistical significance.

The more recent survey was conducted from November 8-11 and has a +/-3.15% statistical margin of error, 95 times out of 100. The results of both polls are also similar to an MPRC survey conducted in September.

This lack of movement is likely good news for Michaud. Since the last poll, both of his opponents have officially launched their campaigns. These scripted events and the attendant media coverage should have been opportunities for them to gain ground, but that doesn’t appear to have happened.

The poll also indicates that Michaud’s coming out hasn’t significantly affected his level of support. Only 15% of respondents said Michaud’s acknowledgement that he’s gay made them less likely to vote for him, with 12% saying it made them more likely.

Those who would vote against Michaud based on his sexual orientation are more likely to be older, Republican, and male, demographics that were less likely to support Michaud to begin with. Those who said the announcement made them more likely to support the Congressman were more likely to be younger, Democratic, and female, groups among which he already had high levels of support. Among independents, the results were a wash, with 11% reporting that the announcement made them more likely to support Michaud and 12% saying it made them less likely to do so.

A steady race with a small lead for Michaud is particularly bad news for Cutler. During the last gubernatorial race, he was able to gain ground based on the perception that Democratic candidate Libby Mitchell couldn’t close the deal against LePage. A stronger Democratic candidate from the outset makes it more difficult for him to make a case for greater electability, despite his 2nd place showing on election day in 2010.

Mike Tipping

About Mike Tipping

Mike writes about Maine politics and policy with a focus on analysis and explanation. He works at the Maine People's Alliance and Maine People's Resource Center, writes a political column for the Portland Press Herald