The Maine primary is next week, July 14 (delayed a month by coronavirus), when Sen. Susan Collins will finally have an official Democratic opponent. That is almost certainly going to be Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, who's led the field from pretty much the beginning of the cycle. Gideon also continues to lead in the general election, according to the latest Public Policy Polling (PPP) polling in the state.
Back in March, PPP polled the state and found Gideon had a 47-43 advantage. This month Gideon has the same four-point advantage, leading 46-42. That's no movement in four months, with Gideon not being able to fully campaign against Collins, and Collins throwing everything she's got at reelection. Collins is deeply underwater with just 36% of voter approval and 55% disapproval. That leaves her 9% to try to sway to her side against the headwind of the Trump pandemic. In comparison, Gideon is holding at 37-37 approve/disapprove, with 26% of voters still to woo.
Collins has lost Democrats and Dem-leaning independents, with just an 8% approval rating from 2016 Clinton voters, down from 32% last year. Impeachment, PPP's polling memo says, "effectively shut off the bipartisan appeal she had for years." She's also tied with Gideon with independents at 44-44. Collins has achieved this fall mostly on her own by deciding she was sticking with Trump. In fact, 46% of voters say Collins is "more a partisan voice for Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell" than "an independent voice for Maine," compared to 42% who say she's looking out more for the state than the party.
More bad news for Collins comes with Trump's numbers, because he's not even as disliked as she is. He has 41% approval to her 36%. But they share the disapproval of 55% of the state's voters. Joe Biden leads Trump by 11 points there, 53-42. Notably, Collins still hasn't said whether she voted for Trump in March's presidential primary in Maine when his was the only Republican name on the ballot. As if she can play coy with that one.
Collins, who famously pledged to serve just two terms in the Senate when she first ran in 1996, is seeking her fifth term. Seems like Maine has decided that's three terms too many since she made her promise.