A majority of Maine voters favor issuing $100 million in bonds to improve transportation infrastructure, according to a new Portland Press Herald poll.

About 66 percent of likely voters said they would vote yes on Question 6 on the November ballot. Only 20 percent said they would vote no and 13 percent said they were undecided. The bond question includes $80 million to improve state highways and local bridges. The remaining $20 million would be spent on ports and marine transportation, aviation, railways, public transit, and bicycle and pedestrian trails. The money will match an estimated $137 million in federal and other funds. If approved, the state would have 10 years to issue the bonds.

The poll of 501 likely voters was conducted for the newspaper by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center between Sept. 15-20. The survey had a margin of error of 4.3 percentage points.

Results show the bond issue has strong support, between 56 percent and 75 percent, from a broad spectrum of voters. Respondents said they would vote to issue bonds regardless of gender, age, education, income level, geography, church attendance, gun ownership or length of time lived in the state.

Party affiliation was the only area with noticeable differences between likely voters over Question 6.

transportationAbout 81 percent of registered Democrats said they would vote yes on the bond question, compared to 49 percent of registered Republicans who said they would. An even wider gulf emerged depending on whom respondents supported for president. Nearly all, 87 percent, of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s supporters said they would vote yes for the bonds, while only 46 percent of those backing Republican nominee Donald Trump said they would. About 41 percent of Trump supporters and 38 percent of registered Republicans said they would vote no on Question 6. Only 4 percent of Clinton supporters and 8 percent of registered Democrats said they would vote against the bonds.

Registered unenrolled voters, those with no party affiliation, were almost half of those polled. About 67 percent of those voters said they would vote yes on Question 6, compared to 18 percent who would vote no and 15 percent who were undecided.

The poll results are not surprising, considering the overwhelming support Maine voters have previously given to transportation bonds. Last year, 73 percent of voters approved $85 million in borrowing for transportation projects. In 2013, another $100 million transportation bond passed with 71 percent of the vote. A $51.5 million transportation bond passed with 70 percent of the vote in 2012.

 


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