Wednesday, May 22, 2013
By John Richardson email@example.com
PORTLAND -- Maine voters are sticking by President Barack Obama -- so far, at least -- despite deep concern about the lagging economy, according to a Portland Press Herald poll.
ABOUT THE POLL
The Portland Press Herald poll was conducted by Critical Insights, a Portland-based opinion research firm.
The company called 615 voters around the state from June 20–25. It used random landlines and cellphones and conducted personal interviews.
The results were statistically weighted to reflect the demographics of the state’s voting population.
The poll has a margin of error of 4 percentage points for results based on the entire sample, with larger margins for subgroups such as independent voters or older voters.
An additional 100 women were polled to provide additional data on women’s perspectives.
A statewide sampling of Maine voters shows they favor Obama over Republican challenger Mitt Romney, 49 percent to 35 percent, with four months left in the intensifying presidential campaign.
Nationally, Obama and Romney are in a dead heat at 47 percent each, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Tuesday.
Mainers say they continue to struggle economically just like other Americans, and that disappointment has subdued the enthusiasm of some who supported Obama in 2008. However, Romney has yet to turn the issue against Obama and connect with voters in Maine the way he has in other states, the poll suggests.
Former Maine Gov. Angus King, meanwhile, holds a substantial lead over his Republican and Democratic rivals in the race for Maine's open U.S. Senate seat.
Fifty-five percent of those polled said they support King, more than double the support for the closest candidate, Republican Charlie Summers. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said they favor Summers and 7 percent said they favor Democrat Cynthia Dill.
King, running as an independent, is drawing support from members of both parties, especially Democrats. Sixty-seven percent of the Democrats who were polled said they support King, while 17 percent said they support Dill, the party's nominee.
Maine's two U.S. representatives, both Democrats, lead in their bids for re-election Nov. 6, according to the poll.
The poll, conducted by Portland-based Critical Insights in late June, provides a snapshot of voter opinion in Maine at the start of the four-month general election campaigns. Poll numbers still reflect name recognition to some degree, and there is plenty of time and campaigning left for candidates to rise and fall, experts say.
A close look at the results shows where candidates are strong and where they face challenges. It also reveals that Maine voters are following national trends in some ways, and breaking away in others.
Here is a deeper look at each race:
The poll results suggest two big reasons for Obama's lead in Maine so far: Many Mainers are not blaming him for the continuing economic problems, and they have not warmed up to Mitt Romney.
The strain of a lagging economy three years into Obama's presidency is clearly swaying some voters here.
Greg Hatt, 56, a carpenter who's a registered Democrat from Camden, said he voted for Obama in 2008 but is leaning against voting for him again in November.
"I think he's let the country down by focusing so much on this health care thing," Hatt said. "He should have been really pushing the economy."
Overall, however, Mainers clearly appear to be more forgiving than most other Americans.
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