PORTLAND (AP) – Support has declined in recent months for a statewide property tax cap and for a ban on using bait, traps or dogs to hunt bears, according to a statewide poll of Maine residents.

The Critical Insights tracking survey said that 47 percent of Mainers support a referendum on the Nov. 2 ballot limiting property taxes to 1 percent of a property’s assessed value. In a poll last spring, 59 percent supported the measure.

Forty-three percent of Mainers oppose the tax cap, up from 27 percent last spring, according to the survey. Ten percent are unsure, compared to 14 percent last spring.

The poll by Critical Insights was based on telephone surveys of 600 people across Maine from Sept. 10 to Sept. 23. When broken down by likely voters, the margin of error was 4.5 percentage points.

The polling company released results Thursday showing that President Bush had closed in on Democrat challenger John Kerry in the presidential race. The poll put Kerry at 45 percent and Bush at 42 percent among likely voters, while 10 percent remained undecided.

Additional results of the poll were released late Friday.

On the tax cap question, the survey said that residents with at least a college degree were more likely to oppose the tax cap than those without a college degree. Among likely supporters of President Bush, half claim to favor the tax cap, while 40 percent of Kerry supporters said they support the cap.

On the bear-baiting referendum, which also appears on the Nov. 2 ballot, support has declined in both northern and southern Maine since spring, the survey said. Support for the ban is highest among women and those who are 55 and older, according to the survey.

And on the Red Sox front, 25 percent of those surveyed said they think the Red Sox will win the World Series this year. Eighteen percent said the team would lose in the World Series, and 39 percent said it would lose in the playoffs.

Ten percent of the respondents said the team would miss the playoffs, and 8 percent were unsure, the survey said.

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