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The Maine U.S. Senate race results were posted today on PPP's website and the results are pretty much what I expected:

Susan Collins has a 14 point lead over Democratic challenger Shenna Bellows...with Democrats. Overall Collins leads 59-20, including a 38 point advantage with independents. Collins continues to be among the 5 most popular Senators in the country with a 61% approval rating to only 27% of voters who disapprove of her. She's well liked across party lines with her strongest numbers actually coming among Democrats (63/25), followed by Republicans (61/27), and independents (58/28).

If Collins has any potential vulnerability next year it continues to come with the Republican primary electorate. 44% of GOP voters say they'd support a more conservative alternative to her next year, compared to 48% who say they'd support Collins in a primary. Only 38% of Republican voters think she actually belongs in their party compared to 26% who think she should be an independent and 22% who believe she should be a Democrat. Still Collins' vulnerability in a primary remains theoretical given her lack of serious opposition at this point. - PPP, 11/13/13

So if Republican voters want someone knew, they better find a candidate very soon.  Otherwise they're left with Collins.  I can't say that I'm surprised by these numbers.  Collins has been making a big name in the press for bucking her own party on several votes including ENDA, repealing DADT and the VAWA.  The press also makde her look like a hero for her role in helping end the government shutdown.  Now Collins has also sided with her party on several votes but with the media's obsession about the moderate Republican becoming an endangered species, the odds are in Collins favor.  Who knows if Collins ends up taking a page from Olympia Snowe's page and decides to call it quits because she can't stomach what her party's become.  But right now there's no indication of that.  She might actually want to stick it out to send a message that the GOP still has moderates.  That message is resonating in Maine but not throughout the entire country.  Bellows is an excellent candidate but she has her work cut out for her, especially when it comes to winning back Democratic and Independent voters who are voting for Collins.  With a little less than a year away from Election Day, anything can happen.  Collins might end up calling it quits or the Tea Party might get lucky and find their candidate.  Who knows.

But Collins isn't the only popular Maine politician.  Senator Angus King (I. ME) has some impressive approval numbers, 54/25.  Marriage equality is even more popular now that it's legal in Maine, 54/37.  Hillary Clinton would be the early favorite to win Maine in 2016.  She beats Chris Christie (R. NJ) 47/39, Jeb Bush (R. FL) 55/32, Rand Paul (R. KY) 57/32 and Ted Cruz (R. TX) 57/30.  27% of Maine Republican voters prefer Christie has the nominee in 2016.  14% for Ted Cruz, 12% for Jeb Bush, 10% for Rand Paul, 9% for Paul Ryan, 4% for Marco Rubio, 2% for Bobby Jindal, and 1% each for Rick Santorum and Scott Walker.

But don't let this poll discourage you.  I strongly recommend you check out, donate or get involved with Bellows campaign.  As the head of the Maine ACLU chapter, she has an amazing record on civil liberties and deserves our support.  You can click here to do so:

Originally posted to pdc on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 07:57 AM PST.

Also republished by The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I would imagine (6+ / 0-)

    that it would be useless to run against Susan Collins the person. She is way too popular. The only way to win this race would be to run against the Republican brand and the fact that any Republican in this seat would contribute to gridlock and dysfunction in Congress.

    •  exactly - Dems should do that in every race (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poopdogcomedy, quaoar
      run against the Republican brand and the fact that any Republican in this seat would contribute to gridlock and dysfunction in Congress.
      ....just as Republicans USE Obama and Pelosi to win races.

      The Tulsa mayor(R) won re-election yesterday by tying his Democratic opponent, his predecessor, to Obama and Obamacare.

      "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

      by MartyM on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 08:32:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Holy (0+ / 0-)

    crap on a cracker! What the hell is wrong with blue state Dems! I remember this song from '08 when ME Dems could NOT be convinced that "their Susan" was a complete NeoCon who supported W all the way. You ask them if she voted for or against the Patriot Act? They say "against." WRONG. You correct them and they say you're lying. Same with the Iraq surge, etc.

    Now, it's still that way! What the hell are they smoking in Maine?

    "I was not born for myself alone, but for my neighbor as well as myself."--Richard Overton, leader of the Levellers, a17th C. movement for democracy and equality during the English Civil War. for healthcare coverage in Kentucky

    by SouthernLeveller on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 08:08:03 AM PST

    •  Give us (and Bellows) some time (2+ / 0-)

      there aren't many Dems up here that wouldn't replace Suze in a heartbeat after this past term- that one that she campaigned on that wouldn't exist-
      The campaign to oust her really hasn't started to take shape yet. But oust we will!

      "Conservatism has (d)evolved from a political philosophy into a mental illness" Brett Freeman

      by rebereads on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 11:15:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just anecdotally (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        When a sponsored ad from the Human Rights Campaign came up in Mainer's Facebook feeds recently asking people to thank Collins for her support of the ENDA bill, comments on it were overwhelmingly negative. This is a major change from what we might have expected in the past. Perhaps voters here are getting tired of seeing Collins lauded on the rare occasions that she does the right thing, while getting a pass on years of bad votes and bills compromised by her "bipartisan" efforts.

        Support a Progressive Dem from Maine for US Senate!

        by Illegitimi non carborundum on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 11:38:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  VIDEO: Shenna Bellows speaking at (7+ / 0-)

    monthly meeting of the Knox County Dems last night, in which she acquits herself well:

    Form follows function -- Louis Sullivan

    by Spud1 on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 08:16:04 AM PST

  •  Compete everywhere. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Illegitimi non carborundum

    I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:06:38 AM PST

    •  Ayuh! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wdrath, SouthernLiberalinMD, earwulf

      Past statewide candidates have often been criticized for being Portland-centric and ignoring the more rural parts of the state. One of the key strategies of the Bellows campaign is to visit every town in Maine over the coming year. Bellows visited every county in the first week of the campaign. She's now making the rounds of the county Democratic committees, building support among the base Dems.

      Maine Dems have built a good party infrastructure over the past few years, and a great GOTV game. We returned the state legislature to Dem control in 2012, after the 2010 debacle, and this year Dems are very fired up about replacing LePage with Mike Michaud. Bellows will benefit from that support (VAN, voter ID, GOTV efforts etc) as well as from her grassroots, Wellstone- style campaign approach.

      Support a Progressive Dem from Maine for US Senate!

      by Illegitimi non carborundum on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 10:03:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We should find a way to use this race (0+ / 0-)

    to turn Susan Collins into more of a liberal Republican like Lincoln Chafee and Jim Jeffords.  I think Bellows has a chance to make some headway in this race and make it a contest.

    Global Shakedown - Alternative rock with something to say. Check out their latest release, "A Time to Recognize": Available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and other major online music sites. Visit

    by khyber900 on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 09:21:52 AM PST

  •  The only way she has a chance (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    would be to use Collins' own record against her. Unlike the New Jersey disaster, Bellows has time on her side.

    •  And Collins does have a long record (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stevenaxelrod, earwulf

      that's at odds with the public perception. The Progressive Punch site has some very interesting data about how all congress critters have voted on critical votes as well as overall voting patterns.

      Collins' image as a moderate is based almost entirely on her votes in two areas- choice/reproductive rights, and environmental issues. In those areas she is certainly better than most of her party (faint praise, that), although even there she scores well below most Democratic senators. In other areas, including health care, human rights (ENDA aside, her overall record is crummy), corporate subsidies, labor issues, campaign finance reform, fair taxation, etc. she makes Blue Dogs like Manchin and Landrieu look like flaming liberals. Yet somehow this message has been hard to convey to Mainers outside the activist Dem base. As SouthernLeveller said above, you can tell 'em but they won't believe it. Even here on DKos, we Mainers hear Kossacks from other states tell us how "lucky" we are to have Collins. No thank you!
      Maine is the only Obama '12 state with a Republican senator up for re-election this year. With Bellows we have a chance to upgrade to the kind of Senator Maine deserves. We're foolish if we don't give it our best shot.

      Support a Progressive Dem from Maine for US Senate!

      by Illegitimi non carborundum on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 10:39:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  These numbers (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poopdogcomedy, wdrath, slakn1

    are not surprising, given the imbalance in name recognition and the fact that Bellows' campaign only started 3 weeks ago. It shows how much work needs to be done (especially with past D Collins voters). It's clear from the crosstabs that most respondents don't know much about Bellows beyond party affiliation.

    Collins, on the other hand, is well-known. Her favorability ratings are consistently high, but it's hard to know how deep that support goes when it's a simple approve/disapprove question.

    When asked about Collins, many Dems here are likely to say "Eh, she's OK" or "Could be worse, considering the rest of the Republicans." These Democrats will be willing to take a closer look a bright, charismatic young challenger like Bellows who can articulate progressive values.

    This campaign is just beginning. It's good to know where we're starting from. Future poll numbers should look more encouraging!

    Support a Progressive Dem from Maine for US Senate!

    by Illegitimi non carborundum on Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 10:21:46 AM PST

  •  Shenna's the Real Deal (2+ / 0-)

    My earlier write up from her kickoff, with links to video of her speeches in Portland and Lewiston, Maine's largest cities.

    Much more to come- and a lot of work ahead. She has made a commitment to see every city and town in Maine, talking to as many Mainers as possible, and needs the support of many to get to DC. Extremely positive response at every meeting so far!

  •  How to take on Collins and WIN (0+ / 0-)

    A trip in the Wayback Machine, anyone?

    April 2008: "Susan Collins rebuked in Maine press for trying to distract from real issues"

    While Collins’ attendance record is an accomplishment, it’s a big stretch to propose that it should provide a significant basis for evaluation of her record. Conversely, short of Allen missing a large number of votes — say 10 percent or more — we don’t think his attendance record is a substantial issue.

    Attendance at votes speaks nothing about the substance of those votes. And in the end, what Maine voters should focus on in this race and others are not diversionary tactics, but where candidates have stood and now stand on significant issues such as the economy, health care and the war in Iraq.

    April 2011: "Senator takes steps to maintain vote recordVoters appreciate Susan Collins' commitment, but how she votes is just as important, analysts say."

    She ran through the halls and underground tunnels of the Capitol complex, badly twisting an ankle in her high heels. She limped into the Senate chamber just in time to be one of 58 senators to cast a "nay" vote on a GOP-authored amendment to a children's health insurance bill that Democrats and some Republicans said undercut the aims of the overall legislation.

    The rest of her fellow committee members missed the vote.

    "That was literally seconds," Collins said. "It would have blown my record due to bad information. To miss a vote when I was right in the Senate complex would have been the worst of all possible reasons for missing it."

    Two political analysts said last week that Collins' perfect voting attendance record appeals to voters -- but doesn't outweigh the importance of how she votes.

    "Consistency in voting tends to look very good to voters," said Amy Fried, a University of Maine political science professor, who added that many voters will relate Collins' commitment to the requirement in their own lives to show up at work every day. But, "It's more symbolic, because you can be a highly effective senator (without a perfect vote attendance record), and there are many highly effective senators who do not have voting records like that."

    Christian Potholm, a professor of government at Bowdoin College, said that Collins' vote record is "a personal vision quest and an important one. I think it shows the voters she is very serious about her job." But, Potholm added, "voters are notoriously fickle when it comes to what they prize in any given election cycle."

    July 2012: She cast her 5,000 vote.

    Collins: "A specific example dates back to my 2008 campaign. During that campaign, which was a vigorous contest — where the Democrats’ top candidate, Tom Allen, was running against me — I managed to secure an endorsement from the Democratic mayor of Maine’s second largest city, which is Lewiston. And the Democratic mayor was going to do his endorsement at this big reception for me that was on a Friday night.

    I’ve always suspected that [Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), then the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee] got word of that, so for whatever reason, we had unusual votes that Friday night and I completely missed the major press event at which the Democratic mayor of the second largest city of Maine announced that he was endorsing me over my Democratic opponent. This was a big deal politically and I completely missed the entire event, because the votes were late enough that there was no way I could make it to Lewiston."

    (WAPO) "Wasn’t there also a separate incident where you accused Harry Reid of trying to end your streak?"

    Collins: "This was during the 2008 election year. The fact that I had a perfect voting record and my opponent had missed over 100 votes was an issue in the campaign. [At a markup of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee] we had finished all of the major bills on the agenda, but as is usually the case, we had some smaller bills we were finishing up."

    Note that she made mention of her earlier opponent, former Rep. Tom Allen. Let's look at THAT race, shall we?

    From Allen's campaign, "Susan Collins runs personal attacks against Tom Allen".

    Local TV news story via WCSH :

    Allen blasts Collins for personal negative attacks.(YouTube clip)

    And why did she launch those attacks in the last few weeks of the campaign? Because her opponent was closing in on her. So she played dirty.

    Tom Allen is closing the gap with Susan Collins

    And the reason he was closing the gap was because he pointed out this inconvenient truth.

    Tom Allen Charges Susan Collins With Failing To Do Any Iraq War Oversight

    The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Maine voters shows that the state’s U.S. Senate race has gotten a little bit tighter this month. In her bid for re-election, Republican Senator Susan Collins now leads Democratic challenger Tom Allen 52% to 42%.
    Collins’ lead has decreased from sixteen percentage points last month to ten points this month. But, the incumbent still earns support from 89% of Republican voters and 34% of Democrats. The candidates are tied at 44% among unaffiliated voters.

    Rasmussen shows Obama leading McCain 51% – 38%. Maine is a very blue state and Susan Collins owns the Bush/McCain legacy.

    The campaign changed this week when Maine news finally picked up on Susan’s abysmal record on oversight of Iraq. The video clip has been getting a lot of attention in the blogosphere. We put it up as did DailyKos, Cliff Schecter, MyDD, Crooks and Liars, Senate Guru and Turn Maine Blue. It’s devastating for Collins. She plays moderate in Maine, but when she’s in D.C., Collins does the dirty work for George Bush.

    Don’t forget, in 2002, Susan was one of Bush’s biggest cheerleaders for the war in Iraq. It was a staple of her campaign back then. She owns the failures in Iraq — and did nothing to stop it.

    Still impressed with her attendance record?

    So now, let's do this. Ready- Set- GO, Shenna Bellows for US Senate!

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