NRCC Field Memo: Maine’s Second Congressional District

September 4, 2014




With Democrats struggling under the weight of President Obama’s sagging approval ratings and failures in both domestic and foreign policy, Republicans are able to look to new opportunities to take Congressional seats currently held by Democrats.

One such seat is in the Second District of Maine, an open seat in a district comprised of moderate, working class voters with a history of supporting likeminded Republican and Democrat candidates up and down the ballot.

It is in ME-02 that a new poll shows a dead heat between New England Republican Bruce Poliquin and extremely liberal Democrat Emily Cain. The poll, conducted by the well-respected Public Opinion Strategies, showed that Cain leads Poliquin by a mere 37% to 33% (a statistical dead heat given the +/- 4.9% margin of error). Cain’s slim lead gets even slimmer when looking at voters that are likely to vote in the election – 35% to 34%. More telling perhaps is 55% of those surveyed disapprove of President Obama job performance and the Republican leads on the generic ballot 39% to 33%.

However, what is truly amazing is that this race is a dead heat despite the fact that there have yet to be any significant attacks on Cain’s record of extremism, both during her previous local campaigns or in the Democratic primary for this Congressional seat.

Cain will have no such luck in the general election, where voters will learn about her out of the mainstream stances on federal issues and her votes in the state legislature:

-Cain supports higher federal income taxes on working class families and the poor.

-Cain supports higher payroll taxes on middle class families and small businesses.

-Cain supports a national energy tax that would raise the cost of electricity and home heating.

-In the state legislature, Cain voted for a budget that would raise the state sales tax from 5 percent to 5.5 percent and meals-and-lodging taxes from 7 percent to 8 percent through June 30, 2015.

-Cain also voted against a bill that would have prohibited felons and murderers from voting.

THE BOTTOM LINE: In swing districts throughout the country, voters are dissatisfied with President Obama, they want a Congress that will be a check and balance on his administration, and they are choosing Republicans on the generic ballot. This is exactly what is happening in the Second District of Maine and the most recent poll reflects that. This political environment is extremely advantageous to Bruce Poliquin and devastating to Emily Cain, whose positions on federal issues and extreme record in the state legislature are simply too far out on the fringes of the political spectrum to appeal to the Second District electorate in this climate. This is why this open seat in Maine is becoming one of the top pick up opportunities for Republicans on November 4th.