Suffolk University/Boston Globe Poll of Maine Voters Shows Biden Cruising over Trump

In U.S. Senate race, Democrat Sara Gideon leads Republican Sen. Susan Collins

Former Vice President Joe Biden (51 percent) leads President Donald Trump (39 percent) in Maine, according to a Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll of voters likely to cast ballots in the November presidential election. Libertarian Jo Jorgensen was the choice of 1 percent of voters, while Rocky De La Fuente (Alliance Party) and Howie Hawkins (Green Party) received less than 1 percent, with 7 percent of voters undecided.

Demographically, Biden had widespread support, including self-identified moderates (57 percent – 28 percent). He even was backed by 11 percent of registered Republicans in Maine and 8 percent of 2016 Trump voters.

“At this point in the campaign, Joe Biden does not need ranked-choice voting to put him over the top,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston.

In the Nov. 3 election, Maine will use ranked-choice voting, where voters rank candidates in order of preference, and no winner is declared until one candidate receives at least 50 percent of the vote. If no candidate reaches 50 percent, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and their voters are reallocated based on their second-choice candidate.

Senate race

In the race for U.S. Senate, Democrat Sara Gideon (46 percent) leads Republican Sen. Susan Collins (41 percent), followed by independents Lisa Savage (4 percent) and Max Patrick Linn (2 percent), with 5 percent undecided.

Gideon led 81-10 percent among those identifying as liberal while Collins led 84-4 percent among those identifying as conservative. However, among the swath of voters poised to swing the outcome – moderates – Gideon led 52-37 percent.

In addition, Gideon’s overall popularity (56 percent favorable – 37 percent unfavorable) was second only to Maine Sen. Angus King (59 percent favorable – 28 percent unfavorable). Collins is struggling with popularity, recording a 45 percent favorable – 45 percent unfavorable rating.

“Sara Gideon’s popularity is tailor-made for ranked choice voting,” Paleologos said. “She edges Sen. Collins in the first-choice round and then extends that lead among the third-party voters who like Gideon next.”

Among the 31 respondents in the poll who did not choose Gideon or Collins in the first round, 48 percent chose Gideon and 19 percent chose Collins.

Coronavirus performance hurting Trump

When likely voters were asked to rate President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, 54 percent scored him as poor and 10 percent gave him a fair rating. Mainers were also skeptical about taking a COVID-19 vaccine immediately after one becomes available. Just 31 percent of likely voters said they would take a vaccine right away while 50 percent would wait a while until others took it, and 16 percent said they would not take the vaccine.

Mail-in voting

While roughly half of Maine voters said they would choose to mail in their ballots before Election Day, there is concern that widespread mail-in voting will lead to voter fraud. Nearly 54 percent said they were very or somewhat concerned, while 44 percent were not very or not at all concerned. The issue has become partisan as 75 percent of Democrats were not very/not at all concerned while 84 percent of Republicans were very/somewhat concerned. Among unaffiliated voters, concern split 62 percent very/somewhat concerned versus 34 percent not very/not at all concerned.

Methodology

The Maine survey of 500 likely voters was conducted Sept. 17 – Sept. 20 using live telephone interviews of households where respondents indicated they were very or somewhat likely to vote in the 2020 general election. The margin of error is +/-4.4 percentage points at a 95 percent level of confidence. Marginals and full cross-tabulation data are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website: www.suffolk.edu/SUPRC. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, dpaleologos@suffolk.edu.

Media Contact

Greg Gatlin
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ggatlin@suffolk.edu