A new WBUR poll shows former Maine Gov. Angus King as the heavy favorite to replace retiring Republican U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe. Current poll numbers have King, who is running as an independent, with 50 percent of likely voters, Republican Secretary of State Charlie Summers with 23 percent, and Democratic state Sen. Cynthia Dill with 9 percent.
King, who served as governor of the state from 1995 to 2003, benefits from a large advantage in name recognition and a 60 percent favorability. By comparison, 71 percent of voters did not offer an opinion of Dill and 57 percent did not rate Summers.
It’s clear Snowe is retiring on a high note, with an 82 percent approval rating. The poll shows she has great cross-party appeal — her approval rating among Democrats is actually 3 percent higher, at 85 percent.
Snowe’s counterpart, Republican Sen. Susan Collins, remains popular in the state with an 80 percent approval rating.
Other highlights from the poll:
- President Obama holds a 14-point lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney: Obama remains popular in Maine. His current lead is not far from his 18-point margin of victory in 2008. Both Obama and Romney are tied among male voters, but it’s Obama’s 26-point lead among female voters that gives him the advantage over Romney.
- Maine’s referendum legalizing same-sex marriage appears likely to pass: WBUR’s poll follows national polls, which show increasing acceptance of same-sex marriage. The WBUR poll shows Democrats and independents favor the measure, while Republicans oppose it.
- Gov. Paul LePage remains a polarizing figure: Among those polled, 40 percent approve of the job LePage is doing as governor, and 49 percent disapprove. He maintains a 64 percent approval rating among Republicans, compared to 21 percent among Democrats and 36 percent among independents.
The WBUR poll of 506 likely Maine voters has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points and was conducted by the independent think-tank MassINC Polling Group between June 13-14.