AUGUSTA — A poll commissioned by a group that supports Democrat Emily Cain suggests she has a 35 percentage point lead over her primary opponent going into Tuesday’s 2nd Congressional District primary.
It was the second poll in three weeks commissioned by the League of Conservation Voters that had Cain with a big lead.
A spokesman for Cain’s opponent, Troy Jackson, said he wondered why the group kept spending money on the race after the poll it commissioned three weeks ago found Cain with a big lead.
The poll released Wednesday had Cain, an Orono state senator, leading Jackson, the Maine Senate majority leader from Allagash, 60 percent to 25 percent.
Cain led Jackson in every segment of the electorate. The seat is being vacated by Democrat Mike Michaud, who is running for governor.
The sample size was large – 810 likely Democratic voters in the district – and it was conducted on Monday and Tuesday for the environmental group by Public Policy Polling, a North Carolina firm. The firm’s earlier poll found Cain up 50 percent to 23 percent.
The most recent results showed Cain was viewed favorably by 69 percent of those polled, well above Jackson’s 42 percent.
Only 11 percent of those surveyed viewed Cain negatively, compared to 26 percent for Jackson. It found that 15 percent of those polled were undecided.
In a memo, Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, said Cain “is primed for a dominant victory” on Tuesday.
But Alan Brewer, Jackson’s campaign spokesman, said he wondered why the League of Conservation Voters followed through on the $150,000 mail campaign it launched against Jackson last month if the group knew Cain was up big, saying “that doesn’t make sense.”
Jeff Gohringer, a spokesman for the league, which endorsed Cain in April, has said Jackson “has a history of siding with corporate polluters.”
On Tuesday, Gohringer said in primaries, “you generally take nothing for granted” and the group “got involved in this race because we wanted to send a clear message to politicians of both parties that we’re going to hold them accountable on their environmental records.”
In January, Cain released an internal poll showing her up 32 percent to 17 percent for Jackson, with about half the 400 people surveyed still undecided.
Cain campaign spokesman Dan Cashman said the candidate has been traveling the district to emphasize her record and her differences with Jackson, particularly on social issues and the environment.
“She’s seeing great feedback on that message and she’s seeing great feedback on her record,” Cashman said.
The Republican primary race between Kevin Raye and Bruce Poliquin, hasn’t been polled publicly since November, when Raye’s campaign released results showing him ahead in the race.
Jackson has been the clear underdog in the race.
At last glance in late May, his campaign had $19,000 unspent while Cain had $145,000.
Plus, outside money has been spent against him by the league and EMILY’s List, a pro-abortion rights group that endorsed Cain and began a six-figure television ad campaign for her this week.
Since the league announced the mail campaign, Jackson, a logger, has criticized the group’s heavy spending in the race, linking it to S. Donald Sussman, a heavy contributor to Maine Democrats. Sussman is majority owner of MaineToday Media, publisher of the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel.
He donated to Cain and gave $25,000 to the League of Conservation Voters before the group endorsed her.
Brewer said Jackson’s campaign continues to run hard, with “a field program in full throttle.”
“Whatever happens on June 10, I know that Troy is going to be connecting with working-class voters across the district,” he said.
“We’re going to be sure that working-class views and working-class values are what this campaign is going to be won and lost on.”
Michael Shepherd can be contacted at 370-7652 or at: