A conservative group is polling Mainers about controversies surrounding critical race theory and transgender rights.
The results from the 30-question online survey from the American Principles Project could determine whether the group releases a slate of attack ads against Gov. Janet Mills, according to the Portland Press Herald.
The survey has circulated under the name “Maine Today & Public Insight.”
The poll asks respondents whether they support teaching critical race theory and gender theory in schools, whether transgender girls should be allowed to compete in girls sports, and whether undocumented immigrants should get public aid, according to the Portland newspaper.
Paul LePage’s campaign and the Maine Republican Party denied any involvement in the poll, the Press Herald reported. LePage, a Republican, is running for a third term as governor against Mills, a Democrat seeking reelection.
The Maine Ethics Commission chief, Jonathan Wayne, told the Press Herald that the poll may require disclosure if its research is used to inform election messaging, but not necessarily if it’s used for other purposes.
Critical race theory is a graduate- and undergraduate-level academic concept that teaches that racism is not an individual bias or prejudice, but instead something that is embedded in legal systems and policies. Education experts have repeatedly said that it is not taught in elementary or secondary schools.
Some of the messaging in the poll mirrors that enshrined within the Maine Republican Party’s platform, which calls for limiting teaching about sexual orientation, gender identity and critical race theory in schools.