Maine Sen. Susan Collins is 'in the fight of her political life' — and it's looking grim
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine has gone from being one of New England’s most popular Republicans, getting reelected twice by double digits twice, to being frequently described as of one of the most vulnerable GOP incumbents seeking reelection this year. And a new Victory Geek poll this week finds Collins losing to her likely Democratic opponent, Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon by 9%.
In the Bangor Daily News, conservative Phil Harriman and liberal Ethan Strimling debated the poll in a column published on Thursday.
Harriman told Strimling, “Sobering news for Susan. However, I caution you, my excitable friend, that this is merely a momentary snapshot six months before Election Day.”
Strimling, however, stressed to Harriman that the poll was conducted by “a joint left/right partnership.” The poll was commissioned by the progressive "Swing Hard. Run Fast. Turn Left!" (which Strimling runs) and conducted by Victory Geek — described by Strimling as “a non-partisan data and telecom provider with mostly conservative clients.”
Harriman told Strimling, “While no one should ever underestimate Susan Collins, the trend in the last few public polls is certainly in the wrong direction for those of us who want to see her reelected.” And Strimling got into the specifics of the poll, noting, “If I were on Team Collins, what I would find most concerning is that Gideon is winning by 20+ points among women and seven points among independents, usually her backstop.”
Harriman commented that one of the things he found surprising about the poll is that it showed Collins losing to Gideon by 12% in an area of Maine where President Donald Trump performed well in 2016 — and Harriman had a hard time believing that Collins could lose to Gideon by double digits in an area Trump won “by 10 points” four years ago. Moreover, Harriman told Strimling, rural Maine voters won’t like it when they realize that Gideon is a “liberal from Rhode Island.”
Nonetheless, Strimling stressed that Collins is “in the fight of her political life” — to which Harriman responded, “Certainly, this appears to be her toughest race since she got to the Senate, but with six months to go, a lot can and will happen.”