Clinton leads Trump in Maine poll, but majority finds her untrustworthy

Hillary Clinton waves to supporters at a political rally in Scarborough in October 2014. BDN file photo by Troy R. Bennett.

Hillary Clinton waves to supporters at a political rally in Scarborough in October 2014. BDN file photo by Troy R. Bennett.

A Maine poll found that Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton is deemed untrustworthy by a majority of respondents, but that she’d still be favored over Republican Donald Trump in the 2016 race for the White House.

The spring tracking poll of more than 600 Mainers from Critical Insights, a Portland polling firm, shows similarly mixed results for Gov. Paul LePage. It reflects a muddled state of Maine politics in which people don’t seem particularly happy with the left or right.

Maine has been a Democratic presidential state since 1992, so Clinton should be favored to win if she is the party’s nominee, which she’s on track to be. The poll found that in a head-to-head match-up, the former secretary of state would win Maine 43 percent to Trump’s 34 percent.

But that result belies deep mistrust in both Trump and Clinton in Maine. Trump was seen as untrustworthy by 64 percent of those in the poll, but Clinton wasn’t far behind, at 55 percent. Trump’s top rival, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, was at 52 percent.

It’s no surprise that Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s rival for the Democratic nod, polls better in Maine, where he won a commanding caucus victory earlier this month. The Vermont senator polled at 57 percent to Trump’s 31 percent in a head-to head race, and he was the only candidate in either party to be deemed trustworthy by a majority of voters.

However, LePage isn’t popular, either: His approval was pegged at 36 percent in the poll, a four-point gain from the firm’s last poll in fall 2015. The poll found that 42 percent think Maine’s on the wrong track, with roughly half blaming LePage as “an ineffective leader.”

But the news isn’t all bad for the Republican governor. In the poll, 28 percent said Maine is on the right track. That’s not much, but it’s an 11-percentage-point gain from the fall poll. Of that group, a third credit what they see as Maine’s improving conditions to LePage and his policies.

A short disclaimer: This is the first poll of its kind in Maine this year, and they’re most useful when there’s more than one.

But while LePage’s results are basically par for his course, they’re not so good for Clinton. It’s a demonstration that a Republican could perhaps win Maine — that is, if the party wasn’t poised to nominate a remarkably unpopular candidate.

Michael Shepherd

About Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after covering state, federal and local issues for the Kennebec Journal for three years. He's a Hallowell native who now lives in Gardiner. He graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 and is a graduate student at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service.