AUGUSTA – Republican Paul LePage has extended his lead in Maine’s race for governor, while independent Eliot Cutler has pulled even with Democrat Libby Mitchell, according to the latest poll released by Rasmussen Reports.

LePage received support from 40 percent of the respondents, while Mitchell and Cutler were tied with 26 percent. Independent candidates Shawn Moody and Kevin Scott were not included in the poll.

The automated poll, which surveyed 500 likely voters on Tuesday, had 4 percent of respondents preferring a different candidate and 5 percent undecided. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

A Rasmussen poll released earlier this month showed LePage with support from 35 percent of the respondents, Mitchell at 32 percent and Cutler at 21 percent.

In this week’s Rasmussen poll results, 81 percent of Republicans supported LePage, while only 48 percent of Democrats supported Mitchell and 37 percent backed Cutler.

Among voters who aren’t affiliated with either major party, 34 percent said they will vote for LePage, 28 percent backed Cutler and 27 percent supported Mitchell.

Cutler had the highest favorability numbers of the top three candidates: 57 percent of respondents said they have a favorable opinion of him, while 39 percent viewed him unfavorably.

Mitchell had the highest unfavorable numbers, with 57 percent of opinions unfavorable and 40 percent favorable.

Voters are nearly evenly split on LePage, with 50 percent viewing him unfavorably and 49 percent favorably.

“Poll after poll is showing Paul LePage as the clear front-runner” in the race, said Dan Demeritt, spokesman for the LePage campaign. “Obviously we’re happy, but now it’s time for people to vote.”

Ted O’Meara, campaign manager for Cutler, said undecided voters have been breaking for his candidate.

“Everywhere Eliot goes, people come up to him and tell him that they are just sick of the negative ads and they respect him for not running any negative ads, and for many people that’s the deciding factor for them,” he said. “People just get fed up with it and are looking for some place they can go with someone who is a centrist, who is not part of this bomb-throwing and negativity, who’s staying above it.”

O’Meara released Cutler’s latest internal poll, which showed LePage leading at 34 percent, Cutler at 28 percent, Mitchell at 23 percent and about 9 percent undecided.

Cutler’s poll surveyed about 600 likely Maine voters over three nights, from Monday to Wednesday.

An earlier poll paid for by the Cutler campaign had LePage at 32 percent, Mitchell at 27 percent and Cutler at 26 percent.

Cutler’s latest internal poll indicated he has the highest favorability rating, with a net positive of 14, versus a net negative of 13 for LePage and a net negative of 28 for Mitchell.

“There will be a lot of polls out over the next few days that say a lot of different things,” said Jesse Connolly, campaign manager for Mitchell. “This has been a volatile race, with a lot of undecideds and a fluid electorate. It is clear that people are taking a hard look at all the candidates, and when they do, we are confident they will decide Libby is the best choice to lead Maine.”

Results of the final Maine Poll, conducted by Critical Insights for MaineToday Media, will be released this afternoon.

 

MaineToday Media State House Writer Rebekah Metzler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at:

[email protected]