AUGUSTA – Poll results released Monday on this year’s race for governor show small declines for the two major-party candidates and a surge for independent Eliot Cutler.

Republican Paul LePage, the mayor of Waterville, still leads the pack, with 39 percent support. He is followed by Senate President Elizabeth Mitchell of Vassalboro, the Democratic nominee, at 31 percent.

Cutler, who was supported by just 7 percent of the respondents in a poll a month ago, is now at 15 percent, according to Rasmussen Reports, which polled 500 likely Maine voters July 14. The margin of error is 4.5 percentage points.

The survey done last week showed 12 percent undecided, and 3 percent favoring other candidates. Shawn Moody of Gorham and Kevin Scott of Andover are two independents who will be on the November ballot.

In a Rasmussen poll last month, LePage had support from 43 percent and Mitchell had 36 percent. Voters were surveyed just two days after the June 8 primaries, when both candidates were in the news frequently.

Cutler’s campaign manager, Ted O’Meara, said his candidate is moving in the right direction.

“After the primary, we went up on TV with a modest ad buy, and to double support while Mitchell and LePage are trending downward is exactly where we want to be,” he said.

But for the LePage campaign, continuing to hold the lead is good news.

“That’s certainly encouraging,” said John Morris, LePage’s chief of staff. “We will continue to work to increase those figures.”

David Loughran, spokesman for Mitchell, said the numbers indicate to him that it’s a two-way race.

“It still looks like a race between Libby and LePage, with a high number of undecideds,” he said. “Libby is the best candidate, so we’re confident the more voters get to know her, the more they are going to like her.”

Other results gathered by the polling firm show that LePage gets support from 78 percent of Republicans and Mitchell gets support from 52 percent of Democrats. Cutler, a Cape Elizabeth resident, is supported by 20 percent of the Democrats and 5 percent of Republicans.

Among voters not affiliated with any party — the largest voting bloc in Maine — LePage had 41 percent support, Mitchell came in at 18 percent, and Cutler had 16 percent.

 

MaineToday Media State House Reporter Susan Cover can be contacted at 620-7015 or at: [email protected]