Supporters of same-sex marriage are expected to announce a major fundraising effort today, the first of three events this week that signal the start of the next phase of the campaign.

David Farmer, spokesman for Mainers United for Marriage, described today’s announcement as significant, although he didn’t want to spill the beans before the news is officially released. On Tuesday, the group will open a few offices around the state and highlight new efforts to campaign door to door. Then on Saturday, they will have a statewide day of action, with volunteers across the state.

Gay activists were heartened last week with President Obama’s public declaration that he now supports same-sex marriage. Voters in Maine will be asked again in November if they want to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.

Opponents say Obama’s comments came as no surprise and that Maine voters will reject calls to redefine marriage. Two of the men leading the opposition, Bob Emrich and Carroll Conley of the Christian Civic League, traveled to North Carolina last week to witness that state’s embrace of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

LEPAGE APPROVAL DOWN

The Critical Insights poll released Friday showed Gov. Paul LePage’s approval rating dropped from 47 percent in the fall to 43 percent this spring.

But year over year, the governor is in much better shape.

A year ago, only 31 percent approved of the job he was doing, with 54 percent saying they disapproved and 15 percent not registering an opinion.

“Part of what I found interesting is there’s been a lot of controversy about his budgets and cuts and it appears that has not had an impact on his favorability,” said pollster MaryEllen FitzGerald.

And while Mainers — at least the 600 of them surveyed — have strong feelings one way or another on LePage, they don’t seem to have much of an opinion at all about the Legislature, FitzGerald found.

Nearly 46 percent said they were “neutral” about the Legislature. One-third were not satisfied, and a mere 18 percent said they were satisfied.

“They see the Legislature as basically not a factor,” she said.

FitzGerald tied that to sentiments she found on gambling, where a large percentage said they wanted to continue to decide gaming issues at the ballot box, rather than have their elected leaders decide for them.

KING ON COMMITTEES

Independent candidate for U.S. Senate Angus King told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that if he’s elected he’ll challenge rules saying he has to pick a caucus in order to receive a committee assignment.

King has been under pressure to announce which party he’ll caucus with, but so far he has refused to commit to one party. Matthews tried to press the issue during an interview with King.

Here’s a snip from the transcript:

Matthews: Why don’t you do something remarkable. You could simply be the one with the vice president that decides things and you go on and say, ‘Look, I’m going to stay here in the center and when I don’t like things I’ll be opposed to them. I’m going to give up all of my committee assignments to earn my independence.’ … Why don’t you do that?

King: That’s absolutely an option. On the other hand, Chris, I don’t want to go down to just stand on principle and be a potted plant. I’m representing the people of Maine and part —

Matthews (interrupts): You could be the judge on everything.

King: Well, yeah, and if I can be effective on behalf of Maine, if I’m fortunate enough to be sent down there, that’s absolutely an option. I’m going to look at all of those options and look at the parliamentary rules and whether they can constitutionally (deny him a committee assignment).”

Bill Schneider, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, pounced on King’s comments. Schneider, in a written statement, said that if King spurns a committee assignment in order to preserve his independence, he’ll effectively be “half a senator.”

“He would be giving up a huge opportunity to represent Maine’s interests with federal agencies and throughout the legislative process. The roads, bridges and destroyers that get built in Maine originate in Senate committees.”

In the beginning of the interview, King told Matthews that he wanted to remain independent “as long as I possibly can.”

He added, “To the extent that I can call ’em as I see ’em for the people of Maine, that’s the direction I want to go in.”

‘PROFESSIONAL LOBBYISTS’

While Republicans kept their current platform in place at the state convention, the one favored by members of the tea party and many Ron Paul supporters, Democrats are looking to make some changes to their guiding document when they meet June 1, 2, and 3 in Augusta.

The proposed platform is a seven-page document with positions on economic opportunity, health care, education, ethics, and a myriad of other topics. Not surprisingly, they advocate for a “universal, single-payer, non-profit health care system,” gay marriage, and environmental protection for vernal pools and “airspace.”

They also call for “fair compensation for state legislators” but don’t outline exactly what that means. And they seem to take a shot at some LePage administration officials — Pattie Aho and Mary Mayhew come to mind — with a statement that the party “opposes the appointment of professional lobbyists as heads of state agencies.”

Other interesting things of note come under the heading Global Peace, Security and Justice, where they outline specific actions for Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Israel and Palestine. In years past, delegates have debated the finer points of the platform, but have not opted for wholesale changes.

LEPAGE VS. CUTLER

During his speech to the GOP convention, LePage settled an old score with independent Eliot Cutler, who finished a close second in the 2010 governor’s race.

“Remember Eliot Cutler?” he said to an enthusiastic crowd. “He’s still running for governor. He mocked me. Said I was pandering to the Maine people. But with the help of the Republican Legislature we produced what Eliot Cutler and the liberal media said was impossible. We produced the largest tax cut in Maine’s history.”

Those cuts, which were part of the budget passed last year, will phase in over the next few years.

LePage provided a rare moment of unity at a convention that will be remembered for its deep divide between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney supporters.

Notebook items contributed by Susan Cover and Steve Mistler.