AUGUSTA, Maine — Likely voters in Maine’s Democratic presidential primary favor former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, according to a poll released Thursday that found wide support for policies that she backs and he doesn’t.
The poll from the Maine People’s Resource Center, an affiliate of the progressive Maine People’s Alliance, is only the third Maine survey of the crowded Democratic primary set for March 3, 2020. It largely matches the order of national polls led by Biden and Warren.
Biden had 26.8 percent support in the survey of 728 likely Democratic primary voters done between Oct. 14 and 21. He was followed by Warren at 22.1 percent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 15.4 percent and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, at 9.1 percent.
All other candidates were at 5 percent or lower in the survey and 4.4 percent were undecided when asked who they would support if the election were that day. The poll included former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, who dropped out of the race for the nomination to take on Republican President Donald Trump last week.
Only Warren and Sanders have appeared to hire top-level staffers in Maine so far as attention is focused in Iowa, New Hampshire and other early-nominating tates, but neither Biden nor Warren have visited the state in their 2020 campaigns. Buttigieg and Sanders rallied in Portland within two weeks of each other in August and September, respectively.
The result of the Maine polling so far is probably the starkest for Sanders, who won Maine’s 2016 presidential caucuses easily in a one-on-one matchup with Hillary Clinton, the eventual nominee, yet was in third place in the other two polls of the race here in October and June.
This time, Sanders, a self-described “Democratic socialist,” is facing competition in the progressive wing largely from Warren. She has embraced ideas that he pushed to the forefront of the party in 2016.
Both back a “Medicare for all” plan and have proposed wealth taxes as Biden and Buttigieg run more moderate campaigns. The Maine People’s Resource Center measured support for five progressive policy ideas, finding the strongest support for Warren’s proposed 2 percent tax on fortunes over $50 million.
That was was supported by 82 percent of likely primary voters, with 68.7 percent saying they backed it strongly. A “Medicare for all” framework registered 78 percent support, though only 48.3 percent supported it strongly with 29.3 percent saying they “somewhat” supported it.