Most Mainers who are likely to vote in November have a poor opinion of Hillary Clinton, but even fewer like Donald Trump.

A new Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram poll shows that 57 percent of likely voters see the Democratic former first lady and secretary of state in an unfavorable light, while 62 percent say they have an unfavorable view of the firebrand Republican real estate mogul and television celebrity.

“These are the two most unpopular candidates to have ever run for president, at least going back for as long as there has been polling,” said Andrew Smith, director of the UNH Survey Center. “You never see them both under water like this.”

Still, among the party faithful, 74 percent of Democrats said they will likely vote for Clinton and Trump sees an identical level of support among Republicans, according to the poll of 609 randomly selected adults conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.

The poll has Clinton leading Trump in Maine, with 42 percent saying they are likely to vote for her Nov. 8, while 35 percent say they will vote for Trump. Another 19 percent say they will vote for somebody else and 4 percent are undecided.

Clinton’s lead is within the poll’s margin of error for likely voters, which is plus or minus 4.5 percent.


The numbers mimic what Americans in general are feeling about their presidential choices. A June 23 poll by Reuters/Ipsos of 1,339 registered voters nationwide showed 44 percent favored Clinton and 34 percent favored Trump.

Smith said it’s also telling that nearly 20 percent of respondents in the Press Herald poll said they would vote for someone else. While that doesn’t mean a third-party candidate such as Libertarian Gary Johnson will be able to pull off a victory, it does mean alternative party candidates are likely to siphon off more votes than ever before from the major party candidates.

That is a problem for both Democrats and Republicans, even though most of the media attention has focused on divisions among Republicans over Trump, Smith said.

“Voter antipathy towards Clinton on the Democratic side is as bad as it is towards Trump on the Republican side,” he said.

The appeal of Bernie Sanders to younger and more progressive Democrats has left many of them disappointed and dissatisfied, meaning some may simply choose not to vote at all while a small percentage may even side with Trump. Smith said Sanders and Trump share an anti-establishment message that especially resonates with young voters.

Earlier this week Trump made an appeal to Sanders voters, urging them to join his movement. Smith said he doubts Sanders’ fans will do so in droves, but some will certainly find greater solace in a vote for Trump than for Clinton.


“The Democrats have a fairly significant problem,” Smith said. Bringing Sanders voters back into the Democratic fold could be critical for Clinton, he said.

Ruth Lind, a Stockton Springs voter who took part in the poll, said she had not settled on either candidate but seemed to summarize the general feeling of dissatisfaction in Maine.

“I think we should draft Olympia Snowe for president,” said Lind, referencing the long-serving but now retired Republican U.S. senator from Maine. Lind, who is over 45 but wouldn’t disclose her exact age, said she still doesn’t know who she will vote for in November. “I wasn’t particularly excited about any of the people running,” she said.

Favorability ratings: Donald Trump

Favorability ratings: Hillary Clinton

INTERACTIVE: Christian MilNeil | @vigorousnorth


Beyond the general disdain voters feel toward the presidential candidates, the new Maine poll reveals other details.

It shows that Clinton, who would be the nation’s first female president if she wins, clearly leads among likely female voters while male voters favor Trump, though by a smaller margin.


Forty-eight percent of women said they favored Clinton while only 28 percent said they would pick Trump. Forty-four percent of men said they like Trump better than Clinton, while 35 percent say they prefer the former first lady.

The poll also shows that Maine’s most educated voters – those who have done postgraduate work – prefer Clinton by a wide margin, with 59 percent saying they would vote for her while only 19 percent favor Trump. Trump’s support among those with a high school diploma or less is stronger than Clinton’s, with 46 percent saying they would vote for him while 35 percent prefer Clinton.

Trump and Clinton have similar favorability ratings among households earning less than $60,000 a year, but Clinton leads among households with incomes over $60,000. Her favorability rating for households earning $60,000 to $100,000 is 38 percent compared to Trump’s 28 percent. In households earning more than $100,000, Clinton’s favorability rating climbs to 43 percent and Trump’s drops to 21 percent.

Filter poll results by key demographics:

By gender
By Congressional district
By educational attainment
By household income
By party affiliation
By age
INTERACTIVE: Christian MilNeil | @vigorousnorth

Likely voters in Maine’s more urban, Democratic and southern 1st District favored Clinton over Trump, 42 percent to 27 percent. But the race appears to be more of a dead heat in the state’s more rural and northern 2nd District, where 30 percent of likely voters said they favor Trump compared to only 28 percent who favor Clinton. The race in the 2nd Congressional District also highlights the dislike likely voters feel for both candidates – 64 percent had an unfavorable view of Clinton compared to 59 percent who had an unfavorable view of Trump.

Among likely voters in the 1st District, Clinton has a clear advantage, with 48 percent saying they’ll vote for her compared to 33 percent who say they will vote for Trump.

Likely voters in the 2nd District are more evenly split, with 37 percent favoring Trump and 36 percent Clinton.


Statewide, 32 percent of registered voters are Democrats, 27 percent are Republican, 37 percent are unenrolled and about 4 percent are Green Party members, according to voter registration at the Secretary of State’s Office.

Poll respondent James Ruffin, 34, of Hodgdon in far northeastern Maine near the New Brunswick border, said he’s voting for Trump despite not agreeing with everything the Republican does or says.

“He’s going to tell you his honest opinion and he ain’t going to beat around the bush when it comes to certain issues,” Ruffin said.

Another respondent, John Nickerson, 74, of Belfast, said he would be voting for Clinton. “I don’t have any other choice,” said Nickerson, a retired federal employee.

“I caucused for Sanders, but he’s fallen off the radar, so to speak,” Nickerson said. While he doesn’t want to “be pals” with Clinton, he does think she would be the best person to lead the U.S. on the global stage.

Michel Cadorette, 79, sits in his Portland apartment on Friday. He says he will vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton, but somewhat reluctantly. "There are issues with her that are a bit of a turn-off but I guess it's what they call the lesser of two evils at this point," he said.

Michel Cadarette, 79, sits in his Portland apartment on Friday. He says he will vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton, but somewhat reluctantly. “There are issues with her that are a bit of a turn-off but I guess it’s what they call the lesser of two evils at this point,” he said. Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer

Michel Cadarette, 79, of Portland, said he’s been a lifelong Democrat and intends to vote for Clinton, but he’s not necessarily enamored with her. It’s a far cry from when he first voted for a Democrat for president in 1960 and he cast his ballot for John F. Kennedy.


“It’s really difficult this year,” Cadarette said, “There are issues with her that are a bit of a turn-off but I guess it’s what they call the lesser of two evils at this point.”

Trump supporter Chuck Phillips, 49, of Saco is also pensive about his choice.

“It’s not as straightforward as it’s been in some years,” Phillips said. “I’m not overly crazy about him but I find him the more palatable candidate.”

What he finds most palatable about Trump? “He’s an outsider, where Hillary has always been there, she’s a part of the problem so I figured I would try somebody who hasn’t had a chance at all with it.”

The poll suggests that Maine voters still have a somewhat dim view of Republican Gov. Paul LePage, with 58 percent of those surveyed saying they disapprove of him. In a June 2014 poll by the UNH Survey Center, 52 percent said they disapproved of LePage. While LePage’s approval ratings this June were high among Republican voters, at 76 percent, 57 percent of unenrolled voters and 88 percent of Democrats said they disapprove of him.

When respondents were asked to identify the most important problem in Maine, 18 percent said it was LePage. That puts the governor in second place, behind jobs and the economy, which 33 percent of respondents picked as the most important problem. Only 5 percent of respondents identified welfare or taxes as the most important problems – both are issues that LePage frequently rails about.


While the governor has hinted that he may run for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Sen. Angus King in 2018, poll findings from 467 likely voters suggest such a match-up would not go LePage’s way. Sixty-three percent said they would pick King – only 29 percent said they would vote for LePage.

Hypothetical 2018 Senate matchup: LePage vs. King

INTERACTIVE: Christian MilNeil | @vigorousnorth


In other poll findings, President Obama had an approval rating of 49 percent, up 5 percentage points from June of 2014, when 44 percent said they approved of the president. But like LePage, Obama’s approval numbers hinge on party identification. Among registered Democrats, the president’s approval level was 82 percent, while registered Republican voters gave him a 79 percent disapproval rate.

Maine’s most popular politician remains U.S. Sen. Susan Collins – 73 percent of the voters polled voiced a favorable opinion of the Republican lawmaker. King, an independent, also remains popular, with a 69 percent approval rating.

The Maine Legislature had a 49 percent approval rating. Only 26 percent of poll respondents said the U.S. is on the right track, while 69 percent said it wasn’t. Forty-five percent said Maine was on the right track, while 46 percent said it wasn’t.

The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram Poll was conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center on June 15-21, 2016. Results are based on landline and cellular telephone interviews with 609 randomly selected Maine adults and 475 randomly selected likely Maine voters. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points for all adults and plus or minus 4.5 percentage points for likely voters.

Comments are no longer available on this story

filed under: