Rep. Jared Golden talks with fellow hikers on the top of Black Mountain in Rumford on Aug. 20. Credit: Natalie Williams / BDN

AUGUSTA, Maine — Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Golden held a wide lead in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District in a Bangor Daily News-Digital Research poll released Tuesday even as Republicans in different races — including President Donald Trump — performed well there.

The freshman congressman looks to be the breakout star of the 2020 election here after narrowly beating Republican incumbent Bruce Poliquin in a 2018 ranked-choice voting race. Golden’s surge came as Trump and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, also a Republican, improved their standings in the 2nd District relative to the last poll conducted for the BDN in August.

Golden got 52 percent support to Crafts’ 34 percent with 11 percent of voters undecided in the survey of 234 likely voters in the 2nd District. The statewide poll of 500 registered voters was conducted between Sept. 25 and Oct. 4 and the congressional portions had error margins of 6.2 percentage points.

The strong result for Golden comes even as Trump gained ground on Democratic nominee Joe Biden relative to the BDN’s August poll in the 2nd District , which the president carried by 10 points in 2016. Trump had 49 percent support to 41 percent for Biden in the swing district, the best poll for the president there in 2020. In August, the former vice president held only a one-percentage-point edge on Trump.

There is reason to have more confidence in Golden’s result in this survey than Trump’s. In independent public polling since the beginning of July, the congressman has a 16-point lead in public polling on average, nearly matching his 18-point lead in the latest poll. By contrast, Trump only has a one-point lead in the 2nd District on average during that same time period.

Biden still led statewide with 51 percent of votes to Trump’s 40 percent, meaning the Democrat is likely to capture three of Maine’s four Electoral College votes. The winner of the 2nd District will get the remaining one. Ranked-choice voting will be used in the race, but third-party candidates only won 5 percent support in the poll statewide.

Bob Domine, the president of Digital Research, which conducted the poll, noted the shrinking number of undecided voters shifting toward incumbents in key Maine races. That trend looks to have benefited Trump, Collins and Golden in the 2nd District.

For example, Collins led House Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, by only three points in the 2nd District the August survey. This time, she had 50 percent support there to the Democrat’s 36 percent. Gideon had a nearly mirroring edge in the 1st District with 51 percent support to 36 percent for Collins.

In the congressional race, Golden led Crafts among every age, gender, education and income demographic while winning 52 percent of voters unaffiliated with major parties to only 23 percent for the Republican. He won 24 percent of Collins voters and 22 percent of Trump voters while only three Biden supporters in the entire survey and one Gideon supporter backed Crafts.

Golden’s approval rating in the 2nd District is now among the highest in the state. Among current officeholders, Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, and Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, topped approval ratings, at 62 percent support statewide. Golden came in next at 56 percent of constituents saying they approved of his performance while only 16 percent disapproved.

This poll of 500 registered Maine voters — 466 of them likely voters — was paid for by the Bangor Daily News and conducted between the dates of Sept. 25 and Oct. 4 by Digital Research/Critical Insights, a Portland-based firm. You can view the questions and full breakdown of the political portion of the poll for all voters here and for likely voters here.

Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after three years as a reporter at the Kennebec Journal. A Hallowell native who now lives in Augusta, he graduated from the University of Maine in...