'The political challenge of her life': Maine Sen. Susan Collins trailing in bid for 5th term, polls find
Republican Sen. Susan Collins' bid for a fifth term could be in jeopardy, according to recent polls.
A survey of 500 registered Maine voters released Tuesday by the Bangor Daily News found the incumbent trailing her opponent Sara Gideon, the state's Democratic House speaker, 35%-43%. Gideon's lead shrunk to five percentage points among likely voters.
Another poll released Tuesday, which was conducted by RMG Group, also found Collins trailing Gideon by 7 points among registered voters, 41%-48%.
And a Quinnipiac University poll released Aug. 6 found Gideon leading Collins 47%-43% among registered Maine voters.
Collins is one of the last moderate Republicans from New England remaining in Congress. A majority of Maine voters have not gone for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988, but several Republicans have won statewide elections since then, including Collins and former Gov. Paul LePage. Maine's other U.S. senator, Angus King, is an independent who caucuses with the Democrats.
Collins has been critical of President Donald Trump – whose approval rating in the state is below the national average, according to the polls – on a number of issues. But her detractors say that despite her often verbal expressions of disapproval (the phrase "Susan Collins is concerned" has become something of a social media punchline) she has ended up voting with Trump on the most important issues, such as the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the impeachment trial.
She is considered one of the most vulnerable Republican incumbent senators heading into November and outside money has flooded the state as Democrats eye an opportunity to gain control of the Senate.
"She has both defied President Trump and backed him to the hilt. An embattled Republican in a northeastern state, Senator Collins faces the political challenge of her life," said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy.
The Bangor Daily News poll found 49% of Maine voters disapproved of the job Collins has done in the Senate, while 37% approved.
That poll found Trump losing to the presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden 36%-44%. Thirty-six percent of voters in that poll said they approved of the job Trump is doing and 56% said they disapproved.
The Bangor Daily News/Digital Research poll was conducted from July 28 to Aug. 9 with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points. The RMG Group poll of 500 registered Maine voters was conducted online from July 27 to Aug. 2 with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 points. The Quinnipiac poll was conducted from July 30 to Aug. 3 with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 points.