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.

Annual alewife counting in Somesville ..


SOMESVILLE, May 29, 2020 – An osprey dives and snatches one and immediately turns the fish facing forward to cut down the drag. These are amazing mobile creatures built for the mission. The eagle which was hanging around to harass the osprey to drop the prey is nowhere to be seen. Eagles are lazy. They sit at the top of the food chain and prefer others do the heavy lifting. They also aren’t as adept as the quicker osprey to lift themselves back into flight.


Although I did not see one, seals are sometimes seen chasing the alewives all the way to the bottom of the fish ladder at Mill Pond.

A couple of opportunistic gulls are hovering. Twenty five yards away a family of Canada geese with newborn chicks are oblivious to the cacophony.

We are steps away from the back of the one-room library here, and the annual rite of passage for alewives – also called river herring – has begun. For city folks like me, this is a visual aphrodisiac. I’m trying to process the multiple activities and doing my best to understand the cycle of life before me.

I am properly masked and distanced from Billy Helprin, director of the Somes-Meynell sanctuary which operates the annual count on Mill Pond next to the historic selectmen’s building. Researchers from the College of The Atlantic are tagging some fish to track their migration patterns and to gather behavorial data.

The return of alewives to Maine’s inner waterways is an epic environmental achievement, and I am grateful to Billy for allowing me to participate (see my post below for the dam removal in 1999 which sparked this movement).

Alewives are a basic food source for just about every living thing in Maine – from striped bass, to lobsters, to otters, to loons, and the ones mentioned above. Since the removal of two dams on the Kennebec River, more than 27 million alewives have returned. Thousands of dams were constructed in the 19th century by the lumber industry.

Alewives are anadromous. They co-exist in salt water and fresh water lakes, where they spawn in the spring. Fish ladders such as the one here assist the fish to swim upstream. You may read more about them here

If you would like to view the fish here, you may cross the historic bowed bridge in the village to view the thousands of fish, including lake perch, in the pond below.

Final Mill Pond alewife count ..

Here is the final report on the 2020 alewife count from Billy …

“The total number that we all counted at the Mill Pond is 30,363 (4 times last year’s very low # of 7,608, and about 80% of 2018’s 37,678); at Long Pond we (mostly JF Burns) counted and moved by net 9,660 from trap into the lake (almost 19 times last year’s 512!!, 78% of 2018’s 12,353, 111% of 2017’s 8,669 – lots of variation here for sure). 
This year’s run has been much better than I had feared it might be given last year’s drop. Last year’s low may have had to do in part with drought/low water conditions in the summer of  2015 and 2016.

We have continued to fine tune the complex fish passage “machine” (system) from Long Pond to Ripples Pond to Somes Pond to the Mill Pond and finally to the saltwater cove in Somesville – in both directions. What works going up is not necessarily what works for outbound fish. Each big rain event or significant depletion of water level necessitates adjustments to the system. As Rusty and Julie know from having the stream below the 2nd dam in their backyard, conditions can change quickly and actions need to be undertaken to block or open channels, and to herd and net fish out of deadend pools. “