New poll: LePage, Obama both unpopular in Maine

Ethan Strimling

Ethan Strimling

The 53rd Pan Atlantic SMS Omnibus Poll will be released soon. Patrick Murphy, the firm’s president, allowed me an early glance at the results. Although I agreed not to release specific numbers prior to the poll’s formal release, there is a lot that is interesting about the results.

The poll was part of Pan Atlantic’s regular surveying and wasn’t paid for by any candidate or political organization.

In terms of the governor’s race, let me simply say there is no doubt that the numbers will make news.

In terms of the rest of the poll, there will certainly be things for both Democrats and Republicans to celebrate. For instance, Gov. Paul LePage’s job approval numbers are still upside down, but so are President Barack Obama’s.

Republicans will clearly rejoice when they see Sen. Susan Collins appears to be more popular that the Red Sox. But Democrats will also be pleased that U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud is seen overwhelmingly as the best option to beat LePage (as opposed to Eliot Cutler).

LePage has clearly won the debate on welfare fraud, with a majority agreeing with his unsubstantiated claim that welfare fraud runs rampant. But, on the flip side, virtually no one considers this an important enough issue to bring it up when asked about the most important issues facing Maine.

And it confirms that Democrats strongly support expanding health care to 70,000 Maine people, Republicans strongly support the Governors’s veto of same, and independents are basically divided (but leaning toward expansion). In essence, each side has solidified its meat for the base this fall.

However, the one question that struck me as the most interesting and perhaps telling was this:

1) Which of the following statements comes closest to reflecting your values:

Statement A: ‘I want my elected official to stand firm and not allow compromise on core values,’ OR

Statement B: ‘I want my elected official to work with the other side, even if that means allowing compromise on core values.’

When you see the final numbers on this question, you will see an overwhelming number of Maine people want compromise. No surprise there. Maine is and always has been a state where practicality trumps ideology. We want to get stuff done.

But when you look at the crosstabs for this question (meaning when you break it out by party identification), what you are going to see is something remarkable. Democrats and independents consistently are saying “yes” to compromise, whereas Republicans are actually more heavily in favor blocking compromise in order to impose their ideology.

A reflection that the Tea Party has influenced even traditional Maine Yankee Republicans beyond repair? Let’s hope not, but I am afraid.

Look for the full poll to be released this Wednesday.

Posted by Ethan Strimling