A new poll by Rasmussen Reports reinforces an ongoing trend in the gubernatorial election: a close race between Republican Gov. Paul LePage and Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud.

The automated poll of 930 likely voters showed LePage with a one-point lead over Michaud, 41 percent to 40 percent, but it is within the survey’s 3 percent margin of error, meaning the race is a statistical tie. Independent Eliot Cutler pulled 16 percent support, while 3 percent of respondents said they were undecided.

The survey was conducted Oct. 7 through Oct. 9.

The result is consistent with most polls of the gubernatorial race. In late September a Portland Press Herald poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center showed Michaud leading LePage 40 percent to 38 percent, but within the poll’s margin of error. Cutler trailed at 12 percent.

LePage and Michaud each candidate picked up 1 percentage point and Cutler picked up 2 percentage points when undecided voters were asked whom they would choose if the election were held that day, but the margins between them did not significantly change.

On Thursday the Cutler campaign touted a poll conducted by Pan Atlantic SMS between Sept. 23 and 29 – approximately the same time that the Press Herald poll was conducted. It showed Cutler in third place with 19.5 percent of the vote, behind LePage with 39.3 percent and Michaud with 33.6 percent, subject to a 4.9 percent margin of error. For Cutler, the results varied little from a poll the same firm conducted in April, which showed him with 20.3 percent.

A different poll, conducted online by YouGov for CBS and The New York Times, showed Michaud with a 37 percent to 35 percent lead over LePage, with Cutler trailing at 10 percent and 13 percent undecided, with a 2.8 percent margin of error.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the results with leaning respondents in the Portland Press Herald poll.

Steve Mistler can be contacted at 791-6345 or at:

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