New poll contains surprising views about voter choices for U.S. Senate race

SOMESVILLE, Oct. 15, 2020 – Despite her public entreaty to her supporters to cast their second choice for Democrat Sara Gideon, a big chunk of Green Party candidate Lisa Savage’s followers would rather give that vote to right-wing candidate Max Linn, according to a highly respected poll.

A plurality – 38.9 percent of those who would vote for Lisa Savage – told Pan Atlantic Research, which conducted the poll in early October, that they would give their second choice to Linn who is running as a “Trump Strong” candidate. Meanwhile, 62.4 percent of Linn’s tiny base said they would give their second choice to Savage.

A significant percentage of Gideon supporters, 14.3, told the pollster they would give their second choice to incumbent Susan Collins, and 12.5 percent of Collins’s supporters rank Gideon as second choice.

What to make of this? Perhaps …

  • A substantial number of respondents didn’t understand the question
  • There is still widespread misunderstanding of how Ranked Choice works
  • Lisa Savage has poisoned the Sara Gideon support among her constituents
  • Lisa Savage supporters think Matt Linn is Matt Damon
  • Some Gideon and Collins supporters think the difference between them is not so great

A seasoned political operative said: “During the debates, Linn was making the case that were Gideon or Collins to win that they will be beholden to whatever their leadership wants (Schumer/McConnell). 

“He said, if you vote for me, vote for Lisa second.  We are the outsiders.  If you want change, vote for us.  They represent “more of the same”, we represent “change”.  I will be beholden to neither party, I can work with anyone.  “So I think that is the general idea why a Linn voter might choose Savage and a Savage voter might choose Linn as No. 2.”

Whatever the reason, Ranked Choice Voting will decide the election. Even though the poll gave Gideon a seven-point lead (46.9 to 39.8), she has polled a 50-percent majority only once. Without a majority win, the race goes to a second ballot.

The Pan Atlantic poll, which was rated by as the best political poll in Maine with a Grade of B, also has Joe Biden winning the Second District 46.5 to 43 percent. Donald Trump won CD2 in 2016 by 10 points. Biden leads 50.3 to 39.7 in the entire state.

U.S. Rep. Jared Golden is about to lap Dale Craft, extending his lead 60.4 to 32.7, in the Pan Atlantic poll.

And Janet Mills polled well in this poll and most of the other polls.