Latest poll shows Michaud with 20-point lead

When a poll released Sept. 9 showed U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, clinging to a 45-38 lead over Republican challenger Jason Levesque, Levesque's campaign fired off an optimistic news release headlined, "We're within seven points!"

There were no such releases from Levesque's camp Monday.

On Monday, an independent poll by Critical Insights, a Portland firm, showed Michaud with a comfortable 48-28 lead, a margin at least one analyst believes more accurately reflects the current state of the 2nd Congressional District race.

Mark Brewer, an associate professor of political science at the University of Maine, said that despite a national electorate that's anti-incumbent and anti-Democrat, the contest is still Michaud's to lose.

"Even with the headwinds he's facing, I've never thought he was in any trouble," Brewer said. "And I guess, at this point, I still don't."

Brewer acknowledged that the 2nd District is a swing district that could easily be taken by the GOP. However, he said, Michaud, who is seeking his fifth consecutive two-year term, has a firm hold.

"Let's put it this way," Brewer said. "If Michaud's in trouble, then the Democrats are in far worse shape than anyone can imagine, and they're already portrayed as being in pretty bad shape."

Brewer said he couldn't explain the disparity between the two polls.

"Clearly something was wrong with one of them," he said.

Despite the result, Levesque said he's very much in the hunt.

"(The Critical Insights poll) doesn't depress me in the least," he said. "I think the main takeaway from both polls is that (Michaud) is under 50 percent. That number isn't changing."

"Michaud has been in government for over 30 years," he added. "Mainers are not happy with what he's done in Washington or Augusta."

Levesque said his limited-government, free-enterprise message was resonating with voters he's met on the campaign trail.

He denied that his campaign was simply attempting to capitalize on the anti-incumbency furor.

"No, Mike Michaud has voted against the wishes of the Maine people," he said. "It's not me being reactive to that. It's me voicing the concerns of the majority of people in the district."

Nonetheless, Levesque he made several attempts to link Michaud to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, saying the Maine congressman has voted with the divisive Pelosi "96 percent of the time."

"That's not the independent voice Mainers in the 2nd District are looking for," Levesque said.

On his blog, Levesque posted a Washington Post story likening this election year to 1994 when Democrats lost majorities in the House and Senate.

Brewer said Levesque has some ground to cover if he's to join that would-be tide. Brewer was struck by the national GOP's small monetary contributions to Levesque.

"If they thought he had any chance they'd be giving a lot more money to his campaign," Brewer said. "But they're not. You can read a lot by seeing where the money goes."

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Political Action Committees had given Levesque $12,435 for his campaign against Michaud, accounting for 5 percent of the $259,166 he'd garnered since June 30.

By contrast, of the $760,621 in Michaud's war chest, more than $551,000 has come from PACs over that same period. Additionally, Greg Olson, Michaud's campaign manager, said that the National Democratic Committee is so confident that Michaud's seat is safe that they're hoping the congressman can eventually divert his resources to tighter congressional races.

"Our donors should rest assured their money will be used here or to help causes or candidates that Mainers support," Olson said.

Levesque, on the other hand, wasn't concerned about the lack of outside money, saying, "money doesn't decide the race, it doesn't buy a vote."

"As long as we have the funds to execute a winning strategy, and I think we do, that's all that matters," he added.

Levesque was also hopeful that more news coverage of the race would help turn the tide. During a 15-minute conversation Monday, he lamented the lack of media attention several times.

As of June 30, Federal Election Commission filings show Levesque had spent all but $58,961 of his funding.

But Levesque's coffers could get an injection, particularly if the GOP candidates continue to gain momentum nationally and regionally.

In the meantime, Levesque continued to sharply criticize his opponent, saying Michaud's reluctance to hold a town hall-style meeting showed the incumbent was "absolutely afraid of what people have to say."

"People simply aren't happy with the job he's doing," Levesque said.

Despite the apparent lead, Olson said Michaud's campaign is "cautiously optimistic" about the congressman's re-election chances.

"The only poll that matters to us takes place in November," Olson said. "We're not polls people, we're votes people."

 smistler@sunjournal.com

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Comments

 's picture

Mike Michaud

Good luck Mike...You are the best...

 's picture

"Democrartic?" As for being

"Democrartic?" As for being a "winger," I guess I could accuse Michaud of being the same...a left "winger." I guess it all depends on which ideology you subscribe to that makes the difference. You'll find out in November that there are more people on Levesque's "wing" than Michaud's. As for who opens their "yap" I have spoken to both men face to face while they were out campaigning and heard some pretty ridiculous things come from Michaud's. If I have to lay money as to which candidate was the sharper of the two when it comes to Maine families, I'll go with Levesque. At least Levesque thinks that Mainers should decide their own fate, decide how to spend their own money, and how to provide for their own needs. Michaud thinks we should let Washington do it. After speaking to Michaud about some of the issues, I wouldn't trust him with my pocket change. Levesque is a significant improvement for Mainers.

 's picture

Sorry...double post

Sorry...double post

 's picture

Steve Mistler must have

Steve Mistler must have looked far and wide for a poll to discredit the increase of Levesque's popularity within the state and the dissatisfaction with Michaud being a Pelosi hack. As for Levesque's camp, I guess the best way to respond to this is to ignore it...kind of like the way the Sun-Journal ignored polls that show Levesque within 7 points. Funny Mistler didn't write a story on that. As for campaign money, I have read from Michaud's supporters about how Mike Michaud is for Maine. How does that explain all the PAC money from out of state? I thought Michaud was against "special interests?" He's for Mainers, right? Sure...PAC money tells me he's in Nancy Pelosi's pocket and can be counted on to vote for her agenda. As for this article, it tells me that Michaud's people are nervous...

 's picture

Keeping Mike Michaud in Washington Is Expensive

Here are some of the things Mike votes for:

1. Repealing Tax Cuts ... Even the lowest bracket will see a 50% increase!

2. Cap & Trade ... Will add $100 to your electrical bill --- monthly.

3. ObamaCare ... Pay for it now, hopefully get it in 2014. A mess beyond all comprehension.

Maine people deserve Mike Michaud if they can't figure this guy out.

 's picture

"Democrartic?" As for being a

"Democrartic?" As for being a "winger," I guess I could accuse Michaud of being the same...a left "winger." I guess it all depends on which ideology you subscribe to that makes the difference. You'll find out in November that there are more people on Levesque's "wing" than Michaud's. As for who opens their "yap" I have spoken to both men face to face while they were out campaigning and heard some pretty ridiculous things come from Michaud's. If I have to lay money as to which candidate was the sharper of the two when it comes to Maine families, I'll go with Levesque. At least Levesque thinks that Mainers should decide their own fate, decide how to spend their own money, and how to provide for their own needs. Michaud thinks we should let Washington do it. After speaking to Michaud about some of the issues, I wouldn't trust him with my pocket change. Levesque is a significant improvement for Mainers.

 's picture

Michaud will win, as will

Michaud will win, as will Pingree. Mainers love their entitlements.

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