MAINE POLITICS

September 27, 2010

Mitchell releases own poll

Kennebec Journal Staff

The Libby Mitchell for Governor campaign released an internal poll Friday that shows the race is much tighter than other recent polls would suggest.

The poll -- paid for by the Mitchell campaign -- puts Republican Paul LePage at 38 percent, Mitchell at 34 percent, independent Eliot Cutler at 10 percent, independent Shawn Moody at 8 percent and independent Kevin Scott at 2 percent.

That leaves only 7 percent undecided.

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research conducted the poll Sept. 22-24 by calling 500 likely Maine voters. It has a sampling error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

None of the outside polls released since June have had Mitchell in the mid-30 percent range. The latest Rasmussen poll, released last week, had LePage at 45 percent, Mitchell at 27 percent and Cutler at 14 percent.

And a MaineToday Media poll released recently put LePage at 38 percent, Mitchell at 25 percent and Cutler at 11 percent.

For those chasing LePage, it's been important in recent days to discount the polls.

Cutler Campaign Manager Ted O'Meara sent a letter to supporters Friday doing just that.

He recaps polls from 1974, 1994 and even May 17 of this year that turned out to be quite different from the final result.

"So let's try to get people to stop focusing on the polls and start paying attention to the only question that really matters: Who is the best person to lead Maine?" he wrote.

Also Friday, Maine Republican Party spokesman Lance Dutson said internal polls such as the one the Mitchell campaign released are "dubious," citing internals from the 2002 U.S. Senate race in which now-U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree appeared to be within striking distance of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins.

The final result there: Collins 58 percent, Pingree 42 percent.

"Our position with internal polls are that they are usually thrown out by a losing candidate as an overt last-gasp attempt," he said. "That's how we see this, as well."

Barbour in Maine today

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour will be in Maine today for a LePage fundraiser at DiMillo's Floating Restaurant in Portland.

Barbour, the past chairman of the Republican National Committee, is current chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

The event is limited to 80 people, with a charge of $750 per person or $1,500 per couple.

The event is closed to the press but there will be an availability following the luncheon, according to the campaign.

 

Maine Tea Party million

Maine Tea Party members will benefit from an anonymous $1 million donation made to a national group called Tea Party Patriots, according to a news release from Andrew Ian Dodge, a local Tea Party leader.

Tea Party Patriots -- the country's largest Tea Party organization, with more than 2,800 local affiliates -- received the money on Tuesday to grow and strengthen regional and local groups, according to the news release.

"This fund will be distributed over the next several weeks, to help ensure that the principles and values of the Tea Party Patriots will inform the citizens of the nation as we head into election season," Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder and national coordinator of Tea Party Patriots, said in a statement.

The core values of the Tea Party Patriots are fiscal responsibility, limited government and free markets, according to the release.

EQME for Mitchell

EqualityMaine, the state's largest group that works to advance lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, announced last week it is endorsing Mitchell in the governor's race.

That may not seem a big surprise -- Mitchell voted in favor of the state's gay-marriage law that was repealed by voters -- but Cutler has been a strong pro-marriage supporter, as well.

In a letter to supporters, EqualityMaine Executive Director Betsy Smith asks for donations to help the group "defeat Paul LePage."

Smith cited Mitchell's record of supporting gay and lesbian issues and her "viability" as reasons the group feels she is the best choice for EqualityMaine.

Also last week -- and from an entirely different group -- Mitchell earned an "A" rating from the Sportsman's Alliance of Maine's political action committee.

Artists for Cutler

Artists and other creative types will gather from 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Bakery Building, 61 Pleasant St., in Portland, to support Cutler.

"In these difficult times, he is far and away the most intelligent and capable choice to lead the state," wrote Alice Spencer and Alison Hildreth in an e-mail. "He is a strong advocate for the arts and Maine's creative economy and, as governor, promises to provide focus and leadership in these areas."

It also notes Cutler is an "avid art collector" and that "his collection includes many works by Maine artists."

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