Survey: Older Maine voters split support between Janet Mills, Shawn Moody for governor

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A poll of older Maine voters commissioned by AARP Maine shows a close race between Democrat Janet Mills and Republican Shawn Moody, each of whom hopes to succeed Gov. Paul LePage.

The survey of 804 voters over the age of 50 had Mills holding a 39 percent to 38 percent lead over Moody, with 15 percent undecided. Independents Terry Hayes and Alan Caron were well behind at 4 and 2 percent, respectively.

In the U.S. Senate race, incumbent Angus King, an independent, had 56 percent support among those polled, the highest of any candidate. Republican Eric Brakey was next at 23 percent, followed by Democrat Zak Ringelstein at 5 percent. Twelve percent said they were unsure.

In Maine’s 1st Congressional District race, Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree holds a commanding lead over Republican Mark Holbrook, 49 percent to 30 percent, with independent Marty Grohman polling at 6 percent and 14 percent undecided.

And in the 2nd Congressional District, Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin has a narrow 40-37 edge over Democrat Jared Golden, with two independents – Tiffany Bond and Will Hoar – combining for 6 percent support and 16 percent undecided.

The poll was conducted between Aug. 16-26 and included both landline and cellphone users. The political party breakdown of respondents was 30 percent Republican, 29 percent Democrat and 34 percent independent. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.5 percent.

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In addition to questions about candidate preferences, the survey asked voters about health care, the economy and their view of President Trump.

“The survey revealed that Mainers 50-plus are deeply concerned about retirement security, health care and maintaining their independence as they grow older,” Lori Parham, AARP Maine state director, said in a statement. “In fact, an overwhelming majority of respondents indicated that candidates’ positions on these issues will help them make their voting decisions in November.”

Forty percent of respondents approved how President Trump is doing his job, and 53 percent disapproved. On the economy, respondents had differing views of the U.S. as a whole compared with Maine. Asked about the U.S. economy, 49 percent said they felt it was either getting much stronger or somewhat stronger. When asked about the Maine’s economy, only 31 percent said it was getting much or somewhat stronger.

An overwhelming majority of respondents, not surprisingly, said they felt preserving Medicare and Social Security benefits was very important.

The poll was limited to Mainers over the age of 50, which historically has been the most reliable voting bloc. Indeed, 89 percent of those polled said they were very likely to vote in November.

Democrat Janet Mills and Republican Shawn Moody have shrugged off the results of a Suffolk University poll that suggests a gender divide among voters. By some estimates, Maine’s female voters outnumber male voters by 30,000. (Associated Press photos)

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