Gov. Janet Mills and former Gov. Paul LePage Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Another poll shows Gov. Janet Mills and former Gov. Paul LePage locked in a close race, with a small share of “persuadable” voters focused heavily on the economy having the potential to decide the outcome in November.

The poll, paid for by AARP Maine, found leads for Mills and other Democrats, including Rep. Jared Golden in the swing 2nd Congressional District. But it also finds peril for the party in control of Augusta and Washington because voters are deeply concerned about current events, with 4 out of 5 saying the country is headed in the wrong direction.

In a head-to-head matchup, 51 percent of voters favored Mills compared to 46 percent for LePage. The slim lead for the incumbent was largely in line with previous polling on the issue, although the AARP poll was the first in recent weeks that did not include the option of a third-party candidate. The survey of 860 likely voters was conducted in the second week of May. The margin of error was 4.4 percent.

The Democratic governor was buoyed by positive favorability numbers — 49 percent of voters held a favorable opinion of her compared to 47 percent unfavorable. For LePage, just 43 percent of voters held a favorable opinion compared to 51 percent unfavorable.

Mills led among women voters while LePage led among men. The Republican former governor also held a one-point lead among independent voters, the survey found.

The poll, which included an extended sample of voters aged 50 and older, also found that 14 percent of voters in that group were “persuadable,” meaning they were not definitely voting for Mills or LePage. This segment of voters was more likely to identify as moderate or conservative and to cite inflation and the economy as their most important issue.

In the swing 2nd District, Golden registered at 50 percent compared to 43 percent for challenger Bruce Poliquin in a head-to-head matchup. The incumbent posted strong favorability numbers, with 52 percent of voters holding a favorable opinion of him compared to 36 percent with an unfavorable opinion. By contrast, 32 percent of voters held a favorable opinion of Poliquin compared to 39 percent unfavorable.

Poliquin, a former two-term congressman, is the heavy favorite in a June 14 primary with anti-corridor activist Liz Caruso for the chance to take on Golden. The Democratic incumbent, who narrowly defeated Poliquin in 2018, is running unopposed in his primary.

The AARP poll found the more liberal 1st District race was not competitive at this time, with 57 percent of voters favoring Rep. Chellie Pingree compared to 33 percent backing challenger Ed Thelander.