To the list of states where things are looking dreadful for Democrats this fall you can add Maine: Republican Paul LePage leads Democrat Libby Mitchell 43-29 in PPP's first look at the race with independent Eliot Cutler pulling 11%.
The thing drivings the GOP poll advantage in Maine are the same we're seeing everywhere: a unified Republican base, a lack of interest from Democratic voters, a strong GOP lean with independents, and the specter of an unpopular Democratic President and Governor hanging over the heads of the party's candidates.
That last one may be Libby Mitchell's biggest issue. A 51% majority of likely voters for this fall disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing, with only 44% giving him good marks. The outgoing Democratic Governor, John Baldacci, is even less popular with a 57% disapproval mark and only 31% of voters happy with the job he's doing. When the folks planning to vote aren't happy with the job the party in power is doing they tend to put them out and that's what we're seeing in the Gubernatorial race right now.
LePage is winning 75% of Republicans while Mitchell's currently getting only 61% of Democrats. LePage also leads Mitchell 39-21 with independents, with Cutler getting 16%.
Cutler's presence in the race is hurting Mitchell a lot more than it's hurting LePage. He's winning over 15% of Barack Obama's voters but only 6% of those who voted for John McCain.
The same depressed Democratic interest that helped sink the party in the Massachusetts Senate election, as well as last fall's races for Governor in New Jersey and Virginia, is showing itself in Maine. We find those likely to vote in the state supported Barack Obama by a 7 point margin in 2008, in contrast to his actual 17 point victory there. That enthusiasm gap contributes a lot to the margin of LePage's lead but make no mistake- with him winning 76% of McCain voters and Mitchell at only 52% with Obama's he'd be in the lead even if the electorate looked the same as in 2008.
Democrats have an uphill battle in this race and it's another reminder that the party's in trouble in some places no matter how blue they've been the last few election cycles.
Full results here