WATERVILLE — The race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is narrowing in Maine with the likelihood increasing that Trump could walk away with at least one of the state’s electoral votes in November, according to a new poll by the Boston Globe and Colby College.

The poll, conducted last week by SurveyUSA with a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points, shows Clinton leading Trump 42 percent to 39 percent in Maine with less than eight weeks to go before Election Day, according to a press release Tuesday from Colby College in Waterville.

An earlier Portland Press Herald/ Maine Sunday Telegram poll, conducted in mid-June, showed Clinton leading Trump 42 percent to 35 percent with 19 percent supporting another candidate and four percent undecided.

“It would seem that Maine is once again a bellweather state, as our poll reflects both the tightness of the presidential race and the divided nature of American politics,” said Dan Shea, director of Colby College’s Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement and a professor of government who directed the poll, in the release. “Maine could make the difference in who we elect as our next president.”

The narrowing gap means that for the first time in state history, all of Maine’s electoral votes may not go to just one candidate.

Maine is one of just two states, along with Nebraska, where the winner of the general election does not automatically take all of the electoral votes. Instead, two of the state’s four votes go to the statewide winner and one additional vote goes to the winner of each congressional district. Trump already has a stronghold in the 2nd District, where the new poll shows him leading Clinton by 10 percentage points.


One electoral vote is inconsequential in a landslide race, but in a tight race, as the poll shows the race between Clinton and Trump, it could make a difference, according to the release. Not since 2000 when Democrat Al Gore carried Maine has the presidential race been this closely contested, it said.

The poll, based on interviews with 1,000 Maine residents, also shows Maine’s Rep. Chellie Pingree easily winning re-election in the 1st District, and a tight race between incumbent Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a Republican, and challenger Emily Cain in the 2nd District.

The earlier Press Herald poll showed the race between Poliquin and Cain to be virtually tied with Poliquin leading Cain 41 percent to 40 percent and 12 percent undecided, while the new poll shows Poliquin with a 5 percent lead.

Experts say that a high-stakes presidential race is expected to boost voter turnout, which historically has benefited Democratic candidates in down-ballot races, though Trump could also bring out more conservative voters.

While Republican Sen. Susan Collins has said she will not vote for Trump or Clinton, Poliquin has refrained from commenting on the candidate, a move some experts say could alienate Trump supporters and has drawn criticism from his opponent and others who say he is not being transparent with voters. Others say his approach is smart and it’s only a matter of time before he is forced to answer the question.

The Colby College poll shows approval for Collins and Maine’s other senator, Independent Angus King, to be robust, at over 60 percent for each.


Meanwhile, one week after Republican Gov. Paul LePage apologized for threats made against a Maine lawmaker and openly contemplated resigning, 54 percent of respondents polled said they had no confidence in his ability to govern. Forty percent, including 85 percent of Republicans, said they have confidence in LePage.

A majority of Mainers polled — 59 percent — also supported President Barrack Obama’s recent order designating 87,500 acres in the Millinocket area as a national monument.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368


Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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