Poll: 42 percent of Mainers surveyed can’t name Senate hopeful

Posted May 11, 2012, at 3:53 p.m.
Last modified May 11, 2012, at 4:51 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Republican and Democratic candidates running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Olympia Snowe have their work cut out to earn name recognition before the June 12 primaries, according to a poll released Friday.

A Critical Insights phone survey asked 600 Maine residents to name any of the declared Senate candidates.

Former Gov. Angus King, an independent, was named by 46 percent of those surveyed. But 42 percent couldn’t name anybody.

Among Republican candidates, Secretary of State Charlie Summers was named by 10 percent of those surveyed. He was followed by state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin with 8 percent, state Sen. Debra Plowman with 4 percent, and former state Sen. Rick Bennett with 4 percent. Businessman Scott D’Amboise and Secretary of State William Schneider each were named by 3 percent.

State Sen. Cynthia Dill was tops among Democrats, named by 6 percent of those surveyed, followed by former Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap with 5 percent, state Rep. Jon Hinck with 3 percent, and home builder Ben Pollard with 1 percent.

The tracking poll asked residents about politics, the economy and issues facing the state. It was conducted from May 2-7 and has a sampling error of 4 percentage points.

Those surveyed gave Snowe, a Republican who is not running for re-election in November, an 81 percent job approval rating.

Forty-three percent approved of Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s job performance, while 48 percent disapproved. In last fall’s poll, 47 percent approved of LePage’s handling of his job, with 40 percent disapproving.

The survey revealed a nearly equal split between supporters and opponents of a proposed 220-mile east-west highway across northern Maine. Forty-five percent said they supported the highway proposal, while 43 percent opposed.

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