In what could be one of the final polls of the U.S. Senate race before Election Day, Democrat Sara Gideon continues to hold a narrow 3-point lead over Republican incumbent Susan Collins among likely Maine voters.

A survey of 879 individuals, developed and fielded by Colby College of Waterville, revealed that 46.6 percent of voters said they plan to vote for Gideon, compared to 43.4 percent for Collins. Independents Lisa Savage and Max Linn received 4.7 percent and 1.7 percent support, respectively, with 3.6 percent undecided. The poll was conducted Oct. 21-25 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

Gideon’s lead has been hovering around 3-5 points in nearly all public polling over the last three months.

“After $160 million spent, you might think there would be some movement,” said Dan Shea, chair of the Colby College Department of Government and the lead researcher on the poll.

The Colby poll also showed Vice President Joe Biden with a commanding 51-38 percent advantage over President Trump among Maine voters, although Biden’s lead shrinks to 4 points (46-42 percent) in the more conservative 2nd Congressional District, where Trump won four years ago and where his campaign has been focusing intently in recent weeks. Trump himself made a last-minute stop in Levant on Sunday.

“I’m a little surprised the Trump campaign is spending so much time here, given that he’s behind in other states with more electoral college votes,” Shea said. Maine has four electoral votes.

Maine is one of only two states that apportions some of its electoral votes by congressional district.

“Four years ago, President Trump won Maine’s Second CD with relative ease,” said Nicholas Jacobs, another Colby faculty researcher working on the poll. “However, right now Joe Biden has a real shot at taking it away from him. There is a reason why both campaigns are running hard there. With almost one in every 10 voters still undecided, and a third of ballots already cast, these last-minute appeals will determine the winner. It is probably going to be the most expensive electoral college vote in the country.”

In Maine’s two congressional races, the Colby survey shows both incumbent Democrats with major leads over their challengers. U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree leads 58-31 percent over Republican Jay Allen in the 1st District race, and U.S. Rep. Jared Golden leads Republican Dale Crafts, 56-31 percent.

Shea said he was surprised Golden has such a big lead given that he’s a first-term congressman.

“Usually, incumbency doesn’t become a big advantage for House members until they have won a few times,” he said.

In the Senate race, Shea said, ranked-choice voting is likely to be the deciding factor. He said the survey suggests that a majority of Savage supporters would vote for Gideon second. Linn’s supporters, on the other hand, were split on their second choices.

“I think it’s possible that the Savage voters, with their second choice votes, will end up picking the next senator from Maine,” he said.

Voter enthusiasm was high among those polled by Colby. Roughly one-third of the respondents reported that they had already voted, with some 69 percent saying they were “very enthusiastic” about voting in this election and 18 percent indicating they were “somewhat enthusiastic.”

Gideon and Biden had similar leads in Colby’s poll last month. Other public polls from September also showed Gideon ahead, including a poll of 500 likely voters by Suffolk University and the Boston Globe that had Gideon with 46 percent support, Collins at 41 percent and Savage and Linn at 3.8 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, with 5 percent undecided. A poll of 663 likely voters by the New York Times and Siena University found Gideon was ahead 49-44 percent, but that survey did not include the other candidates. Gideon has been out-pacing Collins among women voters, younger voters and older voters, generally speaking. Collins has done better among men and voters in the 35-65 age range.

One thing Shea noted in the Colby poll released this week was that the number of undecided voters was cut in half and Collins gained slightly less than one percentage point from those likely voters.

“The race has been extremely tight for months and has only gotten tighter,” Shea said. “The campaigns have shifted from persuasion to mobilization.


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