A version of this article was originally published in The Daily Brief, our Maine politics newsletter. Sign up here for daily news and insight from politics editor Michael Shepherd.
We’re still 40 days from the November election, but the past week has been a good one for Gov. Janet Mills in her race against former Gov. Paul LePage. The Democratic governor widened her steep fundraising lead on LePage through mid-September, and two public polls released peg her at a double-digit lead over her Republican opponent.
The latest poll came from the University of New Hampshire and put Mills at 53 percent support to LePage’s 39 percent. Independent Sam Hunkler got 1 percent, and 5 percent were still undecided. The online survey of nearly 700 likely voters was done from Sept. 15-19.
That margin was similar to an Emerson College poll released Friday. The UNH poll also showed stark partisan and gender splits. Mills was getting 98 percent of President Joe Biden’s voters, while LePage got 87 percent of former President Donald Trump’s. A whopping 62 percent of women backed Mills, while LePage had a 7-percentage-point lead among men.
However, the Maine Democratic Party is managing expectations, saying in a Monday fundraising email that while summer polling shows “a small lead” for Mills, “anything can happen.” That is a reference to the rough polling in 2020 that showed U.S. Sen. Susan Collins trailing through Election Day.
Collins ended up easily beating her Democratic opponent, Sara Gideon, garnering 51 percent of the vote to Gideon’s 42 percent.