Thursday, September 9, 2010

Democrats lead Maine Congressional Races

Both of Maine's Congressional races are looking more competitive than usual, with the incumbents facing tepid approval ratings and holding single digit leads:


Chellie Pingree leads challenger Dean Scontras 47-38. Voters in the district are evenly divided on Pingree's job performance with 40% approving of her and 39% disapproving. She's benefiting from a pretty weak opponent in Scontras. 65% of voters have no opinion about him and among those who do only 15% see him positively with 20% holding a negative view.

Both candidates have their party base pretty much locked up with Pingree getting 81% of Democrats and Scontras 78% of Republicans. Pingree's solid overall advantage comes because she's ahead 49-27 with independents. She's outrunning her 38/38 approval numbers with that group of voters by a good bit, suggesting that incumbency and name recognition might still be worth something even this year.

Pingree's numbers have to be seen as pretty decent across the back drop of the district, where Barack Obama's approval is slightly under water at 48% of voters disapproving of him to 46% giving him good marks.


Mike Michaud leads Jason Levesque 45-38. That may be a closer margin than he's become accustomed to in recent elections but it's better than a lot of other Democrats are doing in districts where Barack Obama's all the way down at 41%.

Michaud actually has slightly negative approval numbers with 39% of voters giving him good reviews and 41% disapproving. But like Pingree he's benefiting from the fact that he has an unknown and not particularly well liked opponent. 68% of voters don't know enough about Levesque to have formed an opinion and his favorability is a negative 15/17 spread with those who have.

This race is probably going to tighten up because 21% of Republicans are undecided while only 10% of Democrats are. Michaud has his party base pretty much locked up at 81% while Levesque's getting only 65% of his party as many remain undecided. Michaud is also leading 43-34 with independents despite the fact that they disapprove of him by a 34/46 margin.

Obviously it's better to be ahead than behind so in that sense these numbers are good news for Democrats. But Pingree and Michaud's leads are largely predicated on weak opposition rather than their own popularity so it's going to be interesting to see what happens in the last 8 weeks if the Republicans have the resources to really run strong campaigns. And if this is where the numbers are in these generally Democratic leaning districts you wonder how bad off Democratic incumbents are in some of the districts where we haven't seen any polling.

Full results here.


wt said...

Great point that there are a lot of districts not getting attention that are looking weak for Dems right now.

If two safish seats are within 10 points within 8 weeks of the election, there are plenty of seats where a wave will push the GOP candidate over the top.

I would take only the slightest comfort from these numbers if I were at the DCCC.

Christian Liberty said...

Both Democrat incumbents can't get above 50.

While Republican resources are a question, so is Democrat fundraising. Fundraising has been drying up for Democrats as their future looks more bleak. Reports have already leaked that national Democrats are cutting off funds to many campaigns that they are writing off as already lost.

The enthusiasm gap shows up as not just increased turnout but increased fundraising and campaign assistance. Pragmatic observers are learning that the smart money is one Republicans. And the smart money is going to the new majority in waiting.

Anonymous said...


Not a good place for Michaud or Pingree to be, still under 50%. And who knows, with the margin of error?

I wonder if a 3rd party group will swoop in for Scontras or Levesque?

You would think Pingree would be safer, but she's further left of her district than Michaud is of his.

Kevin said...

If seats like this start swinging GOP, the GOP can expect a historically great night on election night. We are talking 60 to 70 seat pickups if this happens

DBL said...

Charlie Cook has 102 Democratic seats as possibly in play. These two are not among them. Chris Van Hollen isn't going to return their phone calls, because he's got other races to worry about. The only good news for Democrats is that Pete Sessions isn't going after anything in New England outside of New Hampshire.

Anonymous said...

These two GOP candidates might get a bump on election day by a strong Republican gubernatorial candidate who has a 14% lead over the Democrat in the latest poll. This coattail effect could make the outcome of these two congressional races closer than your numbers might suggest.

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