Today, the Maine Sunday Telegram and other newspapers of MaineToday Media introduce The Maine Poll, an in-depth study of voter opinion taken as election campaigns head toward the Nov. 2 showdown.

Today’s poll, the first of four to be published between now and Election Day, focuses on the race for governor and Maine’s two congressional seats. It also includes an in-depth look at the issues driving voter preferences.

The Maine Poll represents a significant commitment to the citizens of Maine by the newspapers, said Richard L. Connor, publisher and editor.

While out-of-state firms have conducted other polls, this may be the first independent poll done by a collaboration of two Maine companies, MaineToday Media and Critical Insights, a Portland public policy research firm.

“We take seriously our role to keep Mainers informed of issues critical to them and to be aggressive monitors of government and the election process,” Connor said. “While these four polls are our first attempt at public opinion research, they will not be the last.”

The questionnaire for The Maine Poll was created by Maine Sunday Telegram editors in collaboration with MaryEllen FitzGerald, who founded Critical Insights in 1992.

Her firm, known throughout New England, has clients ranging from large national firms, such as FedEx and Anthem, to more regional organizations, such as Norway Savings Bank and Maine Audubon.

The Maine Poll is a random statewide poll of 603 registered likely voters across Maine and was conducted Sept. 13. Interviews were conducted by phone using a computer-assisted telephone interviewing system.

To qualify for the survey, voters had to be registered in the state, indicate they voted in the most recent presidential election and say they were likely to vote Nov. 2.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points at a 95 percent degree of confidence.