Mike Michaud is the new leader in the Maine Governor's race, benefiting from the continued unpopularity of incumbent Paul LePage and declining support for independent Eliot Cutler over the last seven months. Michaud is at 39% to 35% for LePage and 18% for Cutler.
LePage's position is pretty much unchanged from our last poll of Maine in January. He was at 34% then and he's at 35% now. His approval rating was a 39/55 spread then, and it's a 39/56 spread now.
Where there's been a pretty big shift is the positions of Michaud and Cutler. Cutler has dropped 8 points from 26% in the winter to 18% now and Michaud's been the beneficiary, going from 30% then to 39% now. Michaud continues to be easily the most popular candidate in the race with a 53/30 favorability rating, while Cutler has dropped into negative territory with 32% of voters giving him positive marks to 35% who see him negatively. Among the voters who are undecided LePage has just a 19% approval rating, while Michaud (50/12) and Cutler (39/11) both have good favorability numbers. That suggests LePage doesn't have a whole lot more room to grow.
In a two way contest Michaud would blow LePage out, leading him 54/39. Michaud has already improved from 47% of the Democratic vote in January to 63% now, and if Cutler's chances continue to fade Michaud may keep moving closer to the 84% of Democrats he gets in a head to head contest with LePage.
This latest episode, along with everything else that's happened throughout LePage's term, has resulted in 62% of voters in the state feeling that he brings Maine 'national embarrassment' to only 33% of voters who disagree with that. 88% of Democrats, 60% of independents, and even 30% of Republicans think LePage is making the state look bad to the rest of the country.
LePage still has a chance to get reelected next year. But it probably depends on Cutler getting at least 30% of the vote given LePage's stuck needle in the 35% range...and unfortunately for LePage's prospects Cutler's support is headed in the wrong direction. That makes Michaud the favorite in the race.
Full results here