New polls show Senate race substantially as it was in June, despite multimillion-dollar price tag

Posted Nov. 04, 2012, at 8:02 a.m.
Last modified Nov. 04, 2012, at 5:54 p.m.
Independent Angus King (left) and Republican Charlie Summers shake hands following the debate at the Franco-American Heritage Center in Lewiston on Monday, Sept. 17, 2012.
Daryn Slover | Sun Journal
Independent Angus King (left) and Republican Charlie Summers shake hands following the debate at the Franco-American Heritage Center in Lewiston on Monday, Sept. 17, 2012.

The candidates for U.S. Senate in Maine have raised and spent more than $5.5 million to influence voters, and outside groups have spent millions more, but three polls conducted in the week before Election Day suggest support for the candidates remains largely unchanged since the primary.

Angus King holds a double-digit lead with support of 48-50 percent of respondents in a Critical Insights poll conducted Oct. 30-31, a Public Policy Polling survey conducted Nov. 1-2 and a liberal-leaning Maine People’s Resource Center poll conducted Nov. 1-3. That’s just slightly lower than the 50-55 percent he received in June in polls conducted by a Boston radio station and Critical Insights. His support dipped into the low 40s in September.

Republican Charlie Summers has seen his support rise from the mid-20s to the mid-30s since the primary but they have not improved since September, despite ads on his behalf from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Crossroads GPS, a PAC founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove.

The three polls, released Friday and Sunday, put support for Summers at between 33 and 36 percent.

Democrat Cynthia Dill, who in June polled below 10 percent and briefly polled in the teens after a conservative PAC bought ads supporting her in hopes of chipping away at King’s lead, is now pulling between 11 and 12 percent support, according to the surveys.

The Maine People’s Resource Center poll included 905 likely voters and has a margin of error of 3.26 percent. The PPP poll included 1,633 likely voters and has a margin of error of 2.4 percent. And the Critical Insights poll included 613 likely voters and has a margin of error of 4 percent.

While Senate results released over the past few days have been consistent, two of the polls had divergent results in the race for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District between Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud and Republican challenger Kevin Raye.

The Critical Insights survey showed a comfortable, 19-point lead for Michaud, while the Maine People’s Resource Center poll pointed to a tighter race.

Critical Insights showed Michaud leading Raye 55-36. The Maine People’s Resource Center had Michaud in the lead 50-46.

The Michaud and Raye campaigns have been battling in recent weeks over the results of internal campaign polls, with Raye’s camp claiming a slight edge in its most recent internal poll and Michaud’s campaign claiming the five-term incumbent has maintained a comfortable lead.

Both polls pointed to comfortable leads for Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree in Maine’s 1st Congressional District. Pingree is facing a challenge from Republican state Sen. Jon Courtney.

Public Policy Polling didn’t survey Maine’s congressional races.

What do you think the final numbers in the Senate race will be on Election Day? You can enter your prediction in BDN columnist Mike Tipping’s annual election prediction pool for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to Best Buy.

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