Maine Senate race tightens

A new poll by SurveyUSA finds the Maine Senate race between Sen. Susan Collins and Sarah Giddeon to be a dead heat. Gideon, who once held a clear lead, is ahead by a statistically insignificant one point margin, 46-45. The poll was conducted from October 23-27.

Maine uses a ranked-choice voting system. Votes for third party candidates, of which there are two this year, will be distributed to the Democrat or Republican ranked highest on these ballots.

Under this system, SurveyUSA finds Gideon ahead 51-49. That’s still well within the poll’s margin of error.

The same survey has Joe Biden leading President Trump in Maine’s Second District by three points (also inside the margin of error).

Trump derided Collins after she voted against confirming Amy Coney Barrett. Given Trump’s lack of popularity in Maine — he is down statewide by 53-40 — it’s not certain that his derision will hurt Collins’ chances.

Still, Trump would have been better advised to hold his tongue. If he wins the election, Trump will need a Senate GOP majority. A Collins victory might make the difference in giving him one.

Moreover, Collins votes with Trump two-thirds of the time, about the same as Sen. Rand Paul. Gideon is a liberal Democrat. It’s almost certain that, like nearly every other Senate Dem, she will vote with Trump less than one-third of the time.

Let’s also remember that Collins stood with Trump in the bruising battle to confirm Brett Kavanaugh. And she did not oppose Barrett on ideological grounds.

In fact, Collins said she would vote for Barrett after the election if Trump won. Her opposition was based on the principle that Supreme Court Justices shouldn’t be confirmed in a presidential election year until the voters have picked a president. This was the position of Senate Republicans in 2016.

If Trump loses and Democrats take control of the Senate, a Collins victory might be all the more important. Her victory would deprive the Democrats of a vote for their radical agenda. Collins and Joe Manchin might be able to hold the line against that agenda.

Collins won’t vote to pack the Supreme Court (Gideon indicated that she might). She won’t vote to end the filibuster, a move that would enable Biden and Chuck Schumer to hammer through all sorts of left-wing legislation. Collins opposed Obamacare and would very likely oppose expanding it in ways that would effectively end private health insurance. Gideon would be a “yes” on that expansion.

Thus, I’m heartened by the news that Collins has pulled even with Gideon in this important Senate race.