PPP’s newest Maine poll finds that Susan Collins is in trouble for reelection…and that she’s likely to find herself in more trouble no matter what side of impeachment she comes down on.
Collins is unpopular, with only 35% of voters approving of the job she’s doing to 50% who disapprove. She trails a generic Democrat for reelection 44-41. That represents a big drop for Collins compared to a poll we did last September when she led a generic Democrat by 6 points at 44-38. At that time she only trailed 64-21 among Clinton voters but in the wake of her vote on Brett Kavanaugh and the general hardening of partisan lines she’s lost a lot of her crossover support and now trails 76-12 with Clinton voters.
53% of Mainers support impeaching Donald Trump with 44% opposed. When we ask voters who they would choose if Collins opposed impeachment, her 76-12 deficit among Clinton voters grows even further to 83-8 and she goes from a 3 point deficit against a generic Democratic opponent for reelection to a 7 point deficit at 47-40.
Collins faces defeat from a different angle if she supports impeachment though. Her numbers are already a little bit soft with Republican primary voters with 53% saying they generally support her for the nomination again to 38% who say they would prefer someone else. We also tested Collins against some specific possible opponents in a primary- she trails Paul LePage 63-29 and Shawn Moody 45-36 but does lead Derek Levasseur who already entered and exited the race this year 55-10.
Things get a lot worse for Collins within the primary electorate if she supports impeachment though. Trump still has an 80% approval rating with GOP voters in the state- much higher than Collins’ 59% approval- and only 14% of primary voters support impeachment to 83% who are opposed to it. When we ask voters about the Republican primary if Collins supports impeachment there’s a 35 point net shift from supporting Collins by 15 points at 53/38 to opposing Collins by 20 points, with just 35% still wanting to nominate Collins if she supports impeachment to 55% who prefer someone else. There’s also a 32 point shift in a hypothetical match with Levasseur from her 45 point initial advantage at 55-10 to just a 13 point advantage at 37-24. And presumably supporting impeaching Trump might bring a more serious primary challenger than Levasseur out of the woodwork.
Collins has been remarkably resilient over the years but the issue of impeachment seems to have the potential to cause her to lose in the general election if she chooses one path and to lose in the primary election if she chooses the other path, leaving her with no good options.
Maine was one of the closer states in the country in 2016, with Hillary Clinton winning it by less than 3 points. It doesn’t look likely to be as competitive this time around. Only 42% of voters approve of the job Trump is doing to 54% who disapprove. He trails Joe Biden by 12 points (54-42), Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders each by 10 points (53-43), Pete Buttigieg by 9 points (52-43), and Kamala Harris by 6 points (50-44).
Warren has a big lead among Democratic primary voters in the state with 31% to 19% for Biden, 12% for Sanders, 9% for Buttigieg, 4% for Harris, 3% for Andrew Yang, 2% for Cory Booker, and 1% each for Julian Castro and Beto O’Rourke. Warren and Biden are basically tied among seniors but she leads him by 25 points among voters under 45 with 32% to just 7% for Biden.
Full results here