Ethan: Did you see the Maine Sunday Telegram poll that shows a 5-point lead for Michaud? Your colleagues must be ready to concede.

Phil: It’s clearly over. No need to have the election. I just hope Mike gives Paul and Ann a couple of days to gather their belongings.

Ethan: Finally, some sense out of you!

Phil: Seriously, what did you think of the poll? Wait! Before you answer, please don’t put us to sleep citing toplines vs. crosstabs. A little-known secret for our readers is that you – the social butterfly and Portland political maven – are an absolute polling geek.

Ethan: Funny you should mention crosstabs. Did you notice on Page 50, lines 43 and 44, columns 2 and 3, that Bruce Poliquin is crushing Emily Cain among people who go to church only once or twice a month? But with those who go every week Cain is winning! God is clearly on her side …

Phil: How your wife, Mary, puts up with you is anyone’s guess.

Ethan: In all seriousness, overall, the poll looks about right. They have Michaud a little stronger than what I have gleaned from internal polls (on both sides), but all within the margin of error. You?

Phil: Ditto, to coin a phrase from your mentor Rush Limbaugh. There is still lots of movement to come. No voter six months out will have made up his mind definitively. Did you pick up on the party balance? Forty-one percent identified as Democrats, 35 percent as Republicans and 24 percent as independents. That sure does show a bit more enthusiasm among your people.

Ethan: Look at you interpreting demographics! Equally telling is that 42 percent of Democrats said they were extremely interested in the governor’s race, whereas only 31 percent of Republicans said the same. That 11-point margin could doom you.

Phil: Maybe it’s because your side is passionate about unseating LePage, whereas Republicans think he is doing what he said he would and may be taking things for granted. They better get a bit more fired up if they intend to see him re-elected.

Ethan: Not only that, 91 percent of Democrats said they will definitely vote, whereas only 78 percent of Republicans said the same. If we hold an advantage like that, our majorities in the House and Senate will be veto-proof even if LePage squeaks out a win!

Phil: God help us.

Ethan: Well, it wasn’t all bad for your guy. He is beating Mike up north, 44-37 in the three-way, and 55-41, head-to-head. If LePage maintains that level of strength, he gives himself an excellent chance of keeping the race tight.

Phil: Plus, I think Mike’s 16-point lead in the south is very soft. Folks down here don’t know him, and he can ill afford to have that number slip.

Ethan: You do realize LePage only got 34 percent in southern Maine in 2010? And this poll now shows him at 29. His only hope is that the CD 1 voters shift to Cutler, but Cutler’s campaign continues to show no signs of life. Almost 60 percent of his 2010 support is now supporting someone else.

Phil: Don’t underestimate Cutler. Forty-eight percent of the electorate said that they are still trying to make up their mind.

Ethan: Well, 71 percent say the same thing about the U.S. Senate race. Are you ready to declare Susan Collins’ support soft?

Phil: No. But I suspect Collins is not going to take Shenna Bellows for granted. Nor should Michaud. One other positive note for LePage is his standing among veterans. He leads the three-way race by 8 points over Michaud and by 15 when it is just the two of them. Do you think the recent controversy has hurt him?

Ethan: No. His favorability among veterans is plus-19. Le-Page’s is only plus-2. LePage’s advantage here is simply that only 20 percent of the veterans polled were Democrats.

Phil: I suspect it is also because Paul and Ann LePage have supported and honored veterans and their families from the moment he took the oath. What about Cutler? You see any good news in this for him?

Ethan: Certainly the fact that LePage got fewer votes against him than Mike when they were matched head to head. But in the end, there isn’t a single demographic or geographic area in which Cutler leads. His numbers are simply going in the wrong direction. If I were advising his campaign, I am not even sure what I would say to help him turn this thing around.

Phil: I’d tell him to stay the course and hope to catch some momentum when the grenades between Mike and Paul start to fly.

Ethan: “Hope to catch some momentum” is about all the advice anyone can give Cutler at this point.

Phil: And what would you advise Mike and Paul?

Ethan: To both I would say, remember that challenger Joe Brennan was up 9 points against the incumbent governor, Jock McKernan, at this point in 1990. And we all know that Jock ended up squeaking out a win.

Phil: Otherwise, remember this is only half-time.