AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage is currently more popular among Mainers than Gov. John Baldacci was right before the election, according to an opinion poll released Monday. However, that same survey shows LePage isn't enjoying much of a honeymoon with voters.
Those were some of the highlights from Public Policy Polling, a North Carolina-based firm that conducts surveys across the United States. The organization was active during the 2010 election, conducting several comprehensive polls that measured the governor's race, as well as the popularity of Maine's congressional delegation.
Over the last several days PPP has been releasing results from an automated survey of 1,247 registered voters taken between March 3 and March 6. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.8 percent.
The poll shows that 48 percent of respondents disapprove of LePage's performance while 43 percent approve.
According to PPP, that ratio is better than Baldacci's approval numbers from a poll taken last fall. However, it also shows that LePage hasn't earned a lot of goodwill among Mainers since he was elected with 38 percent of the vote in a five-way race.
According to PPP's Tom Jensen, LePage's approval rating puts him "in almost as bad shape as polarizing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and ousted Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland."
LePage is still popular with most Republicans with 77 percent of those surveyed approving. Eighty percent of Democrats disapprove, while 50 percent of independents disapprove.
Thirty-eight percent of independents approve, while 12 percent weren't sure.
The majority of women respondents, 52 percent, disapprove of LePage's job performance, with 39 percent approve.
He is more popular with men, with 49 percent approving and 44 percent disapproving of his job performance.
Dan Demeritt, LePage's spokesman, said the governor wasn't concerned with the poll or the apparent end of his honeymoon with voters after just 10 weeks in office.
"I heard him tell leadership (in the Legislature) that he doesn't care if he's unpopular," Demeritt said. "He's pretty comfortable being judged on the results."
The survey also polled Mainers' attitude toward gay marriage with the majority of respondents, 47 percent to 54 percent, favoring it.
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, also remains popular with most Mainers. Collins has a favorability rating of 56-34 with 10 percent unsure.
PPP last week reported that U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe remained widely popular with most respondents, but that she was almost breaking even among Republicans, many of whom said they favored a more conservative candidate in the 2012 primary.
The results show Collins and Snowe are popular among Democrats and independents.
U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, has a 54-28 favorability margin statewide, including 30 percent among Republicans and 57 percent of independents. U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, has a winning favorability rating statewide, 45-39, including 47-33 rating among independents.
(This story was updated to correct Collins' approval/disapproval rating)