AUGUSTA — Democrat Emily Cain has a 35 percentage point lead over her primary opponent going into Tuesday’s 2nd Congressional District primary, according to a poll commissioned by a national environmental group that supports and has advertised for Cain.

It’s the second poll in three weeks commissioned by the League of Conservation Voters that shows Cain with a big lead. That prompted a spokesman for Cain’s opponent, Troy Jackson, to wonder why the group continued spending money on the race if it found Cain leading Jackson in a poll it paid for three weeks ago. Today, the group released results of a second poll conducted this week.

In that poll, Cain, an Orono state senator, led Jackson, the Maine Senate majority leader from Allagash, 60 percent to 25 percent. Cain led Jackson among every segment of the electorate.

The sample size was large, looking at 810 likely Democratic voters in the district, and it was conducted on Monday and Tuesday for the environmental group by Public Policy Polling, a North Carolina firm. The firm also said it polled another time three weeks ago, finding Cain up then by a 50 percent to 23 percent margin.

The most recent results said Cain was seen favorably by 69 percent of those polled, well above Jackson’s 42 percent. Only 11 percent of those surveyed saw Cain in a negative light, compared to 26 percent for Jackson. It also found that just 15 percent of those polled were undecided.

In a memo, Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, said Cain “is primed for a dominant victory” on Tuesday.

But Alan Brewer, Jackson’s campaign spokesman, said he wondered why the League of Conservation Voters followed through on the $150,000 mail campaign they announced against Jackson last month if they knew Cain was up big, saying “that doesn’t make sense.”

Jeff Gohringer, a spokesman for the league, which endorsed Cain in April, has said Jackson “has a history of siding with corporate polluters.”

On Tuesday, Gohringer said in primaries, “you generally take nothing for granted” and the group “got involved in this race because we wanted to send a clear message to politicians of both parties that we’re going to hold them accountable on their environmental records.”

This is only the second poll released this campaign season in the Democratic primary. In January, Cain released an internal poll showing her up 32 percent to 17 percent on Jackson, with about half of the 400 people surveyed still undecided.

Cain campaign spokesman Dan Cashman said the candidate has been traveling the district to emphasize her record and her differences with Jackson, particularly around social issues and the environment.

“She’s seeing great feedback on that message and she’s seeing great feedback on her record,” Cashman said.

The Republican race for the nomination to replace Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, between Kevin Raye and Bruce Poliquin, hasn’t been polled publicly since November, when Raye’s campaign released results showing him up in the race, which Poliquin contested afterward.

With or without the latest polling, Jackson has been the clear underdog in the race.

At last glance in late May, his campaign had $19,000 left to Cain’s $145,000. Plus, outside money has been spent against him by the league and EMILY’s List, a pro-abortion rights group that endorsed Cain and began a six-figure television ad campaign for her this week.

Since the league announced the mail campaign, Jackson, a logger, has made hay of its big spending in the race, linking it to Maine Democrats’ top money man, S. Donald Sussman, also majority owner of MaineToday Media, publisher of the Kennebec Journal, Morning Sentinel and Portland Press Herald. He donated to Cain and gave $25,000 to the League of Conservation Voters before the group endorsed her.

Brewer said Jackson’s campaign continues to run hard, with “a field program in full throttle.”

“Whatever happens on June 10, I know that Troy is going to be connecting with working-class voters across the district,” he said. “We’re going to be sure that working-class views and working-class values are what this campaign is going to be won and lost on.”

Michael Shepherd — 370-7652 |

[email protected] |

Twitter: @mikeshepherdme

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