LePage Approval: 47%

Rasmussen reports is out with a new poll today, which is featured as a new survey on the Maine Senate race (results were 45% King, 33% Summers, 14% Dill).  However, those with platinum subscriptions to Rasmussen (you’re welcome) are able to see the cross tabs and additional results.

In this poll, one of the additional questions asked for voter’s opinion on Governor Paul LePage.  The results were as follows:

  • 24% – Strongly approve
  • 23% – Somewhat approve
  • 13% – Somewhat disapprove
  • 38% – Strongly disapprove

For the record, that shows an approval rating of 47%, and a disapproval rating of 51% with 2% (!!!!) undecided.

Particularly noteworthy is that the distribution of approval is fairly even between strong support and weak support, while the distribution of disapproval is almost entirely weighted toward those who strongly disapprove.

This essentially means that if you do not like Paul LePage, you really don’t like him.

This is LePage’s best approval mark in quite some time, and critics will no doubt protest that Rasmussen is a pro-Republican pollster with a bias that invalidates these numbers.

This isn’t true, though.  While Rasmussen did indeed have a right leaning house effect in the 2010 elections, he has been more or less on the money in previous elections.  Pollster differences from year to year tend to be more about the sample polling base they decide upon more than institutional bias.

The last poll done on LePage was from Public Policy Polling (who, it should be noted, themselves have a 3.1% house effect in favor of the Democrats this year), which showed the governor at 37% approve, 52% disapprove and 11% undecided.

Previous polls this year have shown, in descending chronological order all the way back to March, approvals of 36%, 40%, 43%, and 41%.

So what is the reality?  It seems likely, given Rasmussen and PPP’s respective reputations and the results from previous polls this year, that LePage is hovering in the low 40s, with a very galvanized and energetic opposition.

LePage’s mission in the next year as he prepares for his re-election campaign is to solidify the “somewhat approve” number from Rasmussen into a more reliable base of support, and to begin to bring some of the “somewhat disapprove” camp over to his side.  The 35%-40% of voters who strongly dislike him are unlikely to change their mind in the coming year.

If he can get his numbers up to 45%-50% approve, which I think is more than possible, he will be in very good shape for re-election, particularly in a state that perpetually features three way contests (and will again, as Eliot Cutler is almost certainly running again).

It should probably be noted, incidentally, that John Baldacci won his re-election campaign while his numbers were in the absolute toilet, and he was in the low 30s or high 20s for most of his second term.

LePage’s reaction to the 2012 elections, and the resulting legislature he is dealt will most likely define his chances for a second term.

Matthew Gagnon

About Matthew Gagnon

Matthew Gagnon, of Yarmouth, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, a free market policy think tank based in Portland. Prior to Maine Heritage, he served as a senior strategist for the Republican Governors Association in Washington, D.C. Originally from Hampden, he has been involved with Maine politics for more than a decade.