Every so often a new poll comes out on the 2014 Maine governor race.
The most recent, published in the Press-Herald and conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Research Center had a close race between Mike Michaud (40%) and Paul LePage (36%), within the margin of error, with Eliot Cutler lagging (15%).
But, as I always say when talking about polling, the trend is your friend.
By that, I mean that a single poll may be really off, so you should take a look at broader patterns.
And this is what the trend looks like:
This graph from HuffPost Pollster includes many polls and is updated as new public polls are released. A line has been plotted to best reflect the underlying poll data.
And, as you can see, the overall trend has Michaud with a small lead over LePage, with Cutler way back.
Pollsters asked about Michaud before he announced he would run in August 2013.
After Michaud declared his candidacy, there have been twelve public polls. Michaud has led in nine of those and has tied LePage in two, with one showing LePage in the lead.
LePage’s vote has been remarkably stable and it’s unlikely that much will change that. But people voting strategically and still undecided could have their views hardened or shifted.
Does this mean Michaud definitely leads LePage now? No.
Given margins of error for various polls and such, Pollster provides an estimate of nearly 81% (80.9%, to be exact) that Michaud leads at this time.
So, this is how the race stands now — before major advertising has been done and before a lot more candidate interactions and before debates and before phone calls and doorstep interactions with citizens and candidates’ supporters.
Not only will those matter, but also events and new information (perhaps including revelations from Mike Tipping’s forthcoming book on Gov. LePage and the tea party in Maine). His Kickstarter campaign is attracting much support (and probably not just because of the LePage songs backers can get). Everything Tipping has reported has been well-sourced, often coming with audio of LePage. Given this track record, the book will certainly make news.
Again, it’s unlikely it will shift LePage’s strongest supporters. But it could contribute to people’s decisions about who they will vote for or whether they want to vote at all.
Anyway, you can take a look at all the separate polls in this race at this link if you want to see where the race stands.
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