Poll: Clinton leads Trump in Maine, but race tied in 2nd District

Democratic presumptive presidential nominee Hillary Clinton led Republican Donald Trump in a new Maine poll from the Portland Press Herald, but both are deeply unpopular and Trump is within striking distance in the state’s northern half.

The poll doesn’t tell us much new about the 2016 race for the White House in Maine: Public sentiment, as measured by the new poll, barely moved since another March poll, but while the Democrat should be favored, Trump can’t be counted out to win at least one of the state’s four Electoral College votes.

Maine allocates two Electoral College votes to the overall winner and one each for the candidate who receives the most votes in each congressional district. A candidate who loses Maine’s overall vote could walk away with one Electoral College vote if he or she garnered a majority in one of the two congressional districts although that has never happened.

In the more rural and conservative 2nd Congressional District, it appears Trump has an opening this year.

Statewide, Clinton received 42 percent of support to Trump’s 35 percent in the poll of more than 609 Mainers. Another 19 percent said they’d vote for another candidate and 4 percent were undecided.

That was within the 4.5 percent margin of error for the poll, which was conducted for the newspaper by the University of New Hampshire. Results were apparently published by the Press Herald on Saturday, but removed from its website ahead of a planned Sunday release date.

Clinton and Trump are the most unpopular presidential candidates nationally in at least 10 election cycles, according to FiveThirtyEight. That shows in Maine, with 62 percent of those in the Press Herald poll having an unfavorable view of Trump with Clinton at 57 percent.

In the 2nd District, 64 percent of voters had an unfavorable view of Clinton to 57 percent for Trump. Head to head, the race there is a virtual tie, with Trump getting 30 percent of support to Clinton’s 28 percent.

This is the first detailed district-level polling we’ve seen in Maine this year, but the overall results are in line with national results and past state polls this year.

Clinton leads Trump nationally by 6 percentage points, according to RealClearPolitics averages, while she led Trump 43 percent to 34 percent in a March poll in Maine from Critical Insights, while an April analysis from Morning Consult placed Trump slightly ahead Clinton here, but within its margin of error.

Other highlights from the poll include:

  • Republican Gov. Paul LePage has a disapproval rating of 58 percent and he would start out as an underdog if he ran in 2018 against independent U.S. Sen. Angus King, with 63 percent saying they’d back King for re-election over just 29 percent for LePage.
  • U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, remans Maine’s most popular politician, with 73 percent approval. King was close behind, at 69 percent.
  • President Barack Obama has an approval rating of 49 percent in Maine, up from 44 percent in a Press Herald poll two years ago. The Maine Legislature’s approval rating is also 49 percent.
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.