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Maine Rep. Mike Michaud (D) official portrait
Rep. Mike Michaud, the man on top
Confirming recent Democratic internal polls, PPP's new survey of Maine finds Rep. Mike Michaud shooting into the lead in next year's gubernatorial race. In a three-way matchup, Michaud holds a 39-35 edge over GOP Gov. Paul LePage, with independent Eliot Cutler at 18. Cutler's fade has coincided with Michaud's surge: In January, PPP saw the race at 34 LePage, 30 Michaud, and 26 Cutler.

In the interim, Michaud has started to consolidate Democratic support, upping his share among members of his own party from 47 percent to 63 percent. Michaud wasn't a candidate the last time PPP went into the field, so his increased visibility has likely played a big role here. And while both Michaud and Cutler have seen their favorability ratings drop about a dozen points, but the former remains broadly popular at 53-30 while the latter is now underwater at 32-35.

There's also no doubt that Cutler is taking votes almost entirely from Michaud: In a direct head-to-head with LePage, Michaud beats him soundly, 54-39 (though that's actually down some from Michaud's earlier 57-36 advantage). Cutler's presence on the ballot is the only reason LePage has any shot at victory, but if Cutler can only reach the teens, as Tom Jensen suggests, that's not likely enough to save LePage's bacon. And obviously, it also means Cutler can't win. If he has any sense, he'll recognize that "at best" he'd be a spoiler and drop out instead.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 11:39 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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