April 11, 2013

Alan Caron: Early betting on LePage re-election not likely to pay off

The way-too-soon polls mean little because the governor will face more intense opposition in 2014.

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The 1994 race for governor is a case in point. That race pitted former Gov. Joe Brennan against Angus King and Susan Collins. Brennan’s position was eerily similar to LePage’s today. He had support in his party but couldn’t crack 40 percent in broader polling.

The race was reasonably close for a long time, while the anti-Brennan majority took a long look at Collins and King. And then, in what is becoming an unofficial “fall primary,” they began to shift toward King. Polling picked it up, media coverage accelerated it and the Collins campaign collapsed.

Look for a similar pattern in 2014. Anti-LePage voters aren’t going to conveniently split their votes between Cutler and the Democrat. They’ll give them both a good hard look. They won’t get hopelessly locked into one candidate or vote too early. In October, they’ll begin to shift toward one and the other will quickly fade.

By Election Day, we’ll effectively have a two-person race. And LePage will be in big trouble.

Alan Caron is a partner in the Caron & Egan Consulting Group, and is co-writing “Growing Maine’s

Next Economy,” which will be out next fall. He can be reached at:



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