Is he no longer a long shot?

Republican challenger Jason Levesque has for the first time overcome double-digit polling deficits and pulled to within striking distance of Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, according to the latest results of The Maine Poll released Friday.

The poll of the race for Maine’s 2nd District has Michaud with the support of 44 percent of respondents and Levesque with 40 percent. That left about 14 percent of respondents still undecided.

The Maine Poll, conducted by Critical Insights for MaineToday Media, surveyed 326 likely voters in the congressional district with live interviewers Wednesday and Thursday. It is the fourth and final poll commissioned for MaineToday Media and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.7 percent.

Levesque’s apparent surge to within 4 percentage points of the incumbent puts them in a statistical dead heat. contrast, the three previous Maine Polls have had Michaud with commanding leads — 13, 12 and 20 points.

Informed of the results late Friday, Levesque repeated his common refrain that voters have “fired” Michaud and have been “looking for that new congressman and coming over to me in greater numbers.”

“Of course, I’m happy with this,” Levesque said. “But I will not rest until 8 p.m. Tuesday night. This is the last stretch and we are going to fight to the bitter end. The only thing I know how to do in life is to keep moving forward and never stop.”

Michaud’s campaign, however, aimed to portray the latest results of The Maine Poll as an outlier. The campaign released its latest internal poll, conducted Oct. 20-21 with 400 registered voters, showing Michaud with a commanding 61 percent and Levesque with just 32 percent. It had a margin of error of 4.9 percent.

Still, Michaud campaign spokesman Peter Chandler said the congressman “has never taken any campaign lead or election for granted and this one is no different.”

“Mike is working very hard and will continue to do so until the polls close,” Chandler said. “And we’re confident that our positive message about getting results for our veterans, creating jobs and standing on the side of working people is resonating with voters.”

In a note accompanying The Maine Poll results, Critical Insights said that “Mike Michaud’s support has remained steady over the last six weeks,” but “a recent uptick for Jason Levesque has him narrowly trailing the incumbent.”

However, the four-point margin between the candidates “should be considered directional,” because of the poll’s sampling error and the number of likely voters. In other words, the results point more toward a trend than a four-point race.

As of Friday, New York Times blogger Nate Silver, the polling statistician of, had rated the race “solid Democratic,” and gave Michaud a 95 percent chance of winning and Levesque a 5 percent chance, based on a formulaic analysis of the polls. The latest Maine Poll hadn’t been included in those calculations. Silver’s model forecasts the outcome to be 56 percent for Michaud and 44 percent for Levesque.

The Maine Poll continued to show a gap between male and female voters. Among men, 49 percent supported Levesque while 37 percent went for Michaud. Women went 50 percent for Michaud and 32 percent for Levesque.

Across income levels, the candidates were basically split. Forty-two percent of those who did not attend college supported Levesque, while 38 percent sided with Michaud. Of those who graduated from college, 51 percent went for Michaud, while 40 percent went for Levesque.

Among respondents earning less than $50,000, Levesque had 43 percent to Michaud’s 38 percent; of incomes from $50,000 to $100,000, Michaud had 49 percent to Levesque’s 43 percent; and among incomes over $100,000, Levesque had 48 percent to Michaud’s 43 percent.

Michaud’s and Levesque’s closing arguments have played out this past week in competing television advertisements.

Michaud’s newest ad touts the creation of a “cheaper, faster, greener bridge built with high-tech composites and no need for heavy equipment,” and shows construction workers asking, “And who helped make it happen? Mike Michaud.”

The workers go on to say, “he’s one of us” and “he’s working for us.”

In response, Levesque’s new TV ad this week takes aim at Michaud with what has become his central criticism of the incumbent congressman: he’s out of touch with voters. The ad claims Michaud voted with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi 96 percent of the time and asks, “Who’s Mike Michaud working for anyways?”

Levesque’s ad goes on to assail Michaud on familiar points: his support of the “failed stimulus,” “Obamacare,” and cap-and-trade legislation.

“He says he’s one of us, working for us,” Levesque says, as Michaud’s image is displayed beside the U.S. Capitol, “but really he’s one of them, working for them.”