The final pre-election poll released today for the November, 2014 election by the Maine People's Resource Center, the Maine public opinion research organization with the best record of accuracy in predicting election results, shows both the Maine gubernatorial contest and the Second Congressional District race too close to call heading into the last few days before the mid-term election.
Democratic Congressman Mike Michaud garnered 45% of the vote in the race for governor, to 44% for Republican Governor Paul LePage, 9% for independent Eliot Cutler and just 1.6% undecided. Support for Cutler and the number of undecided voters have both decreased since MPRC's last survey in July.
The survey of 906 likely voters was conducted from October 31st through November 2nd and has a statistical margin of error of 3.25%, 95 times out of 100.
The race for the Second Congressional District is similarly deadlocked, with 43% of 397 respondents in the district expressing support for Republican Bruce Poliquin, 42% for Democrat Emily Cain, 10% for independent Blaine Richardson and 5% of voters undecided.
In both of these races, the final outcome may be decided by which campaigns better manage to get their supporters to the polls on election day, as a turnout advantage of even a single percentage point could be decisive.
The poll also included questions on children in poverty. A majority of likely mid-term voters surveyed (54%) believe "Maine's government should do more to help children who live in poverty because economic conditions outside of their control cause them to be poor" and a plurality (48%) say concern "that Maine's children will not have adequate educational opportunities, health coverage, and protection from abuse" trumps concerns over high taxes.
Views about children and poverty were highly predictive of gubernatorial choice. 74% of those who expressed greater concern about opportunities for children supported Michaud, while 74% of those who expressed greater concern over higher taxes supported LePage.
In the race for U.S. Senate, incumbent Republican Susan Collins holds a 20-point lead over Democratic challenger Shenna Bellows (57% to 37%, with 5% undecided). In the First Congressional District, incumbent Democrat Chellie Pingree holds a 26-point lead over Republican challenger Isaac Misiuk (56% to 30%, with independent Richard Murphy garnering 7% and 7% undecided).
On Question One on the ballot, a referendum to ban bear hunting using bait, dogs and traps, the "No" side has a statistically significant lead (53% to 43%, with 4% undecided).