-Susan Collins has a 14 point lead over Democratic challenger Shenna Bellows...with Democrats. Overall Collins leads 59-20, including a 38 point advantage with independents. Collins continues to be among the 5 most popular Senators in the country with a 61% approval rating to only 27% of voters who disapprove of her. She's well liked across party lines with her strongest numbers actually coming among Democrats (63/25), followed by Republicans (61/27), and independents (58/28).
If Collins has any potential vulnerability next year it continues to come with the Republican primary electorate. 44% of GOP voters say they'd support a more conservative alternative to her next year, compared to 48% who say they'd support Collins in a primary. Only 38% of Republican voters think she actually belongs in their party compared to 26% who think she should be an independent and 22% who believe she should be a Democrat. Still Collins' vulnerability in a primary remains theoretical given her lack of serious opposition at this point.
-A year after gay marriage became legal in Maine most voters think it's no big deal. 72% say gay marriage has had no impact on their lives, with 15% saying it's had a positive impact on them and just 13% claiming it's had a negative effect on them. Even among voters opposed to gay marriage in the state 70% acknowledge that it hasn't actually had any ill effect on their lives.
Last year voters approved gay marriage by 6 points at the polls. Now voters say they support it by a 17 point margin, 54/37. It's 57/31 among independents, and voters under 30 favor it 65/26. For the most part voters' reaction is that it's just not a big deal.
King started out the year at a 44/25 spread, so his approval has improved by 10 points without any increase in the share of voters disapproving of him. He's at 76/9 with Democrats, 53/24 with independents, and 27/47 with Republicans.
-Hillary Clinton would be strongly favored in Maine in 2016 regardless of her Republican opposition, but there's a massive gap between how Chris Christie does and the rest of the GOP candidate field. Christie trails Clinton only 47/39 in the state, a performance that would be 8 points better than Mitt Romney's there last year. Meanwhile the rest of the Republicans we looked at all trail by at least 23 points- Jeb Bush would be at a 55/32 disadvantage, Rand Paul would trail 57/32, and Ted Cruz would be the weakest GOPer with a 27 point deficit at 57/30. The last time a Republican lost by that large of a margin in Maine? 1964 and Barry Goldwater.
Christie is the top choice of Republican primary voters in the state to be their nominee in 2016. 27% say he would be their pick to 14% for Ted Cruz, 12% for Jeb Bush, 10% for Rand Paul, 9% for Paul Ryan, 4% for Marco Rubio, 2% for Bobby Jindal, and 1% each for Rick Santorum and Scott Walker. 'Very conservative' GOP primary voters continue to be skeptical of Christie, as they are everywhere, giving Cruz a 26-16 lead. But Christie more than makes up for that with a 47-0 lead over Cruz with moderates, and a 27/13 advantage with 'somewhat conservative' primary voters as well.
Full results here