2012 Election Poll: Mainers Weigh In

MPA’s sister organization, the Maine People’s Resource Center, released a public poll this September. It measured the various candidates and the referendum on the ballot and also asked some questions about how Maine people view two issues that are important both nationally and in Maine: Social Security and the fairness of the tax system.

In the Congressional races, MPRC found both Democratic incumbents, Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud, ahead of their Republican challengers by wide margins.

In the U.S. Senate race, the poll found independent former-governor Angus King maintaining a lead over his Democratic and Republican challengers, but by a smaller margin than in previous polls conducted by other organizations.

On the same-sex marriage referendum,MPRC found the Yes side, in favor of allowing gay and lesbian couples the freedom to marry in Maine, ahead by 10 points with 53% of the vote. This was the first time that a public poll had asked the actual question on the ballot as written by the Secretary of State.

The poll also found President Barack Obama with a large lead over challenger Mitt Romney in Maine, but by a larger margin in the First Congressional District (which is mostly Southern Maine) than in the Second, which is Central, Eastern, Western and Northern Maine.

On Social Security, the poll didn’t ask just whether Mainers want to preserve the system, which national polls have shown is incredibly popular, but whether they actually wanted to expand it and give people credit for work done caring for children and disabled family members. Right now, this important work isn’t counted for Social Security.

Mainers overwhelmingly approve of caregiver credits, with 61.4% saying they supported such a law. Only 25.6% were opposed.

Caregiver credits are especially popular among women, with even Republican women giving the idea majority support. This is not surprising, considering that it’s often women that sacrifice to fill these important roles, often without compensation or recognition.

There’s a bill in Congress now to address this situation. You can visit www.wegiveacare.org/mpa to speak out in favor of recognizing this work and to thank the caregivers in your life.

On taxes, the MPRC poll didn’t just ask if taxes on the wealthy should be raised, for example by allowing the Bush tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 to expire. It asked whether Mainers believe that raising taxes on the wealthy will improve the economy. 55.3% of those asked said that raising income taxes on the wealthy would help the economy. Only 29.2% said it would hurt the economy, and 11.7% said it wouldn’t make a difference.

This is a clear message to politicians that not only is making sure wealthy Americans pay their fair share the right thing to do, but that voters link it directly to their number one issue, improving the economy.

The Maine People’s Alliance is working hard to make the case to Maine’s members of Congress, and the candidates running for Congress this year, that this is an issue on which they should join the people of Maine. They should allow the Bush tax cuts to expire.

The cuts will come up for a vote again in the next few months. If you’d like to get involved on this issue, contact MPA lead organizer Gen Lysen at gen@mainepeoplesalliance.org.