A poll of older Maine voters commissioned by AARP Maine shows a close race between Democrat Janet Mills and Republican Shawn Moody, each of whom hopes to succeed Gov. Paul LePage.

The survey of 804 voters over the age of 50 had Mills holding a 39 percent to 38 percent lead over Moody, with 15 percent undecided. Independents Terry Hayes and Alan Caron were well behind at 4 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

In the U.S. Senate race, incumbent Angus King, an independent, had 56 percent support among those polled, the highest of any candidate. Republican Eric Brakey was next at 23 percent, followed by Democrat Zak Ringelstein at 5 percent. Twelve percent said they were unsure.

In Maine’s 1st Congressional District race, Democrat Chellie Pingree held a commanding lead over Republican Mark Holbrook, 49 percent to 30 percent, with independent Marty Grohman polling at 6 percent, and 14 percent undecided.

And in the 2nd Congressional District, Republican Bruce Poliquin had a narrow 40-37 percent edge over Democrat Jared Golden, with two independents – Tiffany Bond and Will Hoar – combining for 6 percent support, and 16 percent undecided.

The poll was conducted between Aug. 16-26 and included both landline and cellphone users. The political party breakdown of respondents was 30 percent Republican, 29 percent Democrat and 34 percent independent. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

In addition to questions about candidate preferences, the survey asked voters about health care, the economy and their view of President Trump.

“The survey revealed that Mainers 50-plus are deeply concerned about retirement security, health care and maintaining their independence as they grow older,” Lori Parham, AARP Maine state director, said in a prepared statement. “In fact, an overwhelming majority of respondents indicated that candidates’ positions on these issues will help them make their voting decisions in November.”

Forty percent of respondents approved how Trump is doing his job, and 53 percent disapproved. On the economy, respondents had differing views of the U.S. as a whole compared with Maine. Asked about the U.S. economy, 49 percent said they thought it was either getting much stronger or somewhat stronger. When asked about Maine’s economy, only 31 percent said it was getting much or somewhat stronger.

An overwhelming majority of respondents, not surprisingly, said they though preserving Medicare and Social Security benefits is very important.

The poll was limited to Mainers over age 50, which historically has been the most reliable voting bloc. Indeed, 89 percent of those polled said they are very likely to vote in November.

Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

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