Susan Collins is going to be very, very concerned about her re-election prospects come November. A Colby College poll released Tuesday has her losing by one point to her likely Democratic opponent, Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, 42-43. The Democratic primary isn't until June, so Gideon is still focused there, but even if she doesn't emerge as the victor, Collins needs to be worried.
Just 42% of Mainers said they will vote for her in November, which is pretty darned bad. That's where her favorability rating sits, too, compared to 54% who view her unfavorably. Since winning the seat in 1996, when she squeaked in, Collins has always won with about 60%. "We're not used to seeing Sen. Collins in a tight race," Dan Shea, a researcher on the poll, told The Wall Street Journal.
"American politics has taken a dramatic turn in the last four to six years, and the broader question is whether or not the nationalization of American politics has spread to Maine as well," Shea continued. That's one way of putting it. Another is that Collins has demonstrated that she's as craven as any other Republican when it comes to giving Trump a free pass and betraying the principles she's always claimed to hold. Especially when it comes to selling out women.
That's where Collins has lost the most support, Shea points out. "She is hemorrhaging women voters. […] We weren't quite sure of the impact that the Kavanaugh vote would have on her brand, but it's really popped up in this poll." She has the support of just 36% of women overall, compared to 49% for Gideon. With women under 50, she loses 25-56. Her vote for the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court contains multitudes of problems for Collins—it was a proxy for her caving to Trump and McConnell; it is a rebuke of Christine Blasey Ford and her testimony against Kavanaugh, and by extension of all of the women who have been abused by powerful men and bravely tell their stories; it endangers the most basic of our rights: control over the decisions we make for our own bodies. Collins betrayed women on every level with that one vote, so it's not a surprise that they're abandoning her now. Not to mention what Kavanaugh will mean for civil rights, the environment, gun safety measures—all the issues for which Collins was a pet Republican who won't be there any more.
Mainers aren't too thrilled with her impeachment trial performance, either, especially independents, about 40% of the electorate in the state. Just 13% of that group say they're more likely to vote for her because of her vote to acquit Trump, compared to 39% who are less likely to vote for her. "What happened for a lot of independents is I think that many were looking for a Mitt Romney moment, and they didn't get it," Shea said. Sounds like they're the last group to get the message about Collins.
Collins, the most unpopular senator in the land, is absolutely beatable this cycle.