AUGUSTA, Maine — A new poll shows mixed signs for the Maine Democrats leading the ticket in Tuesday’s election: Gov. Janet Mills’ approval rating has soared since the spring, but U.S. Rep. Jared Golden’s approval fell in the conservative-leaning 2nd District.
The key findings: Mills’ approval rating rose from 46 percent in the spring to 56 percent in the fall, according to a survey released Wednesday by Digital Research Inc. of Portland. The poll of 620 Mainers was conducted online and by phone and has an error margin of 3.9 percentage points.
It did not include head-to-head polling in Maine’s biggest races or corresponding approval rating for candidates not in office, including former Gov. Paul LePage, Mills’ Republican opponent. These surveys are intended to track long-term changes in the electorate, and the latest round was done between September and October.
Golden’s approval dropped from 41 percent in the spring to 36 percent this fall. His disapproval corresponded with that, rising from 26 percent to 31 percent. Many others in the 2nd District are still ambivalent about the relatively new member of Congress.
One counterpoint: Golden is still seen differently in the 2nd District than the unpopular President Joe Biden. While only 1 in 10 Republican voters approve of the president, 3 in 10 were OK with Golden.
That could be key to his success in Tuesday’s election, while former Rep. Bruce Poliquin campaigns often with LePage to try to lock down conservative voters.
The undercurrent: More than half of Mainers thought the economy will be worse in the next year, which is a recession-era level of pessimism, Digital Research found. While the standing of Democrats has eroded nationally since September, that has not filtered into Maine polls yet and there has been evidence that state officials are not being blamed much for high costs.