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LePage's possible successor shown in tight race

Maine is one of two Northeastern states Donald Trump nearly won in 2016 and now he's the most unpopular poli...

Posted: Aug 9, 2018 6:18 AM
Updated: Aug 9, 2018 6:18 AM

Maine is one of two Northeastern states Donald Trump nearly won in 2016 and now he's the most unpopular politician listed there in a Suffolk University poll released Wednesday.

The poll also shows a tight race for Maine governor between the Democrat and Republican after notable Trump supporter Gov. Paul LePage is termed out of office.

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That doesn't mean Republicans will be out of luck there. Republican candidate and businessman Shawn Moody, who has cast himself in political outsider brand of the more brash and outspoken Trump and LePage, is competing against Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills, and two independent candidates -- Alan Caron and Terry Hayes. The Suffolk poll shows the two main candidates receiving 39% support each, with Caron and Hayes at 3% and 4%, respectively.

Moody, a former independent candidate for governor notes in his campaign ads he's "not a politician."

At a debate hosted by TV station WCSH in May 2018, Moody said: "When you look at Governor LePage, he's an outsider, he's a businessman. [...] President Trump is an outsider, businessman. I'm an outsider. I'm a businessman."

While Moody is not far from a plurality in November, the poll shows pretty negative feelings toward Trump, who lost the state by only three percentage points in 2016, but won a single electoral vote from the 2nd Congressional District. Maine is one of two states able to split its electoral votes.

Now Trump's approval rating in Maine is almost exactly the same as his numbers nationwide. Gallup's most recent weekly tracker has Trump at 41% approval and 54% disapproval. Suffolk reports Maine voters have the same feelings with 41% approval and 55% disapproval.

Trump received the second lowest favorability rating of politicians tested at 54% unfavorable. He's followed by LePage at 52%.

When respondents were asked if they wanted their vote to support the direction Trump is leading the nation, change the direction, or if their vote doesn't have much to do with Trump and his policies, a plurality -- 46% -- said they want their vote to change the direction Trump is taking the nation. One-in-three said they want it to continue, and 21% said their vote isn't related with the President.

Moody is playing well in this current poll among Republicans (80% support), men (50%), and gun owners (50%). But Maine is a state that has shown a preference for moderate candidates.

Susan Collins, the current Republican senator, will be up for re-election in 2020. She's been at the center of many debates recently as a moderate Republican who may sway toward the minority Democrats. She receives positive ratings from her constituents, with 49% who said they have a favorable view of her and 31% who said they view her unfavorably.

Collins was the second most popular politician tested, behind Angus King, the senator who is technically independent but is a member of the Democratic caucus. Sixty-three percent of Mainers viewed him positively, a good thing for him since he's up for reelection.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that Maine was not the only Northeastern state Trump nearly won in 2016.

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