Independents across the country will surely be paying close attention to this year's US Senate race in Maine. Last month, the state's former Governor Angus King announced that he would be seeking the seat as an Independent after moderate Republican Olympia Snowe stated she was retiring from office and withdrew from the race.
Snowe's departure left the field wide open, and, according to a new survey, Angus King has taken a commanding lead against his potential rivals from the Democratic and Republican parties. The survey, conducted by the Maine People's Resource Center, found that 56% of those polled said they would cast their ballots for Independent Angus King if the election were held today, while 21% said they would favor the Republican candidate and 12.2% said they would support the Democrat. Just under 10% said they were undecided.
The poll matched King up against Democrat Matt Dunlap and Republican Charlie Summers. Dunlap served in the state House of Representatives from 1996 to 2004 and was elected Secretary of State in 2005. Dunlap was succeeded in that office by Charlie Summers in 2010. Summers is a former State Senator and served as State Director for outgoing US Senator Olympia Snowe.
The state's Democratic and Republican party primary elections are scheduled to be held in June. The survey found that most voters remain undecided as to their options in those races. Of those in the Republican primary field, Summers outpolled his rivals by a significant margin, according to the MPRC survey. At 27.6%, he demonstrated twice the support of his closest competitor, State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, who clocked in at 12%. However, nearly 40% of those surveyed said they were undecided.
In the Democratic primary, State Senator Cynthia Dill led the pack with 20.3% support. Matt Dunlap came in a close second with 16.7% support. An outright majority of those polled, 54.8%, stated they remain undecided in the race.
Given these numbers, it is noteworthy that so few respondents stated they were undecided in a three way match-up between Dunlap, Summers and King.
Independent Angus King appears to be drawing support from across the partisan spectrum within the state's electorate, though his base leans toward the Democrats. Of those surveyed by MPRC, King had the support of 66.7% of Independent voters, 61.4% of Democrats and 37.5% of Republicans.
The Maine People's Resource Center is affiliated with the Maine People's Alliance, a progressive political advocacy group. The automated survey of 993 registered Maine voters was conducted by phone between March 31 and April 2. It has a margin of error of 3.11%.