Maine Sen. Susan Collins could be in for a tough fight to keep her seat, with a new poll showing that she trails her Democratic opponent by nine points in a race already drawing national attention.
As the Bangor Daily News reported, the poll was commissioned by the left-leaning group “Swing Hard. Run Fast. Turn Left!” and conducted by the polling company Victory Geek, a non-partisan outlet. It showed that Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon had taken a wide lead over Collins, the incumbent Republican who became a major target for Democrats.
As Maine politician Ethan Strimling noted, there are some particularly troubling signs for Collins in the poll, especially among voters groups that she has traditionally won in past elections.
“If I were on Team Collins what I would find most concerning is that Gideon is winning by 20+ points among women and seven points among independents, usually her backstop,” he said.
Gideon still faces a primary challenge to get the party’s nomination, the report noted, and polling for Democratic activist Betsy Sweet is not as strong against Collins, the report noted. The primary had originally been scheduled for June 9 but was moved to July 14 due to the effects of the coronavirus.
As CBS News noted, Collins’ seat is considered one of the most likely to flip in the November elections, especially after Hillary Clinton won the state by close to three points in 2016. Collins’ vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was criticized by many on the left, leading to a rush of support and early donation pledges for her eventual opponent. Collins again came under scrutiny for her vote to acquit President Donald Trump at his impeachment trial, followed by her expressing a belief that Trump had learned his lesson and would not abuse his office again.
As a result of the attention that will be on the race and its potential for being the tipping point that determines which party controls the Senate, there is expected to be a surge in spending, CBS News noted.
“Collins’ race is shaping up to be one of the most expensive elections on the map, even though Maine is one of the smaller states up for grabs and is not considered a top presidential battleground,” the report noted.
CBS News added that both Collins and Gideon spent close to $9 million in the first quarter of this year, though Gideon was able to flex her fundraising abilities and outraised Collins by $5 million during that time. She took in $7 million to the $2 million raised by Collins.