( - promoted by Matt Stoller)
Trends in Maine continue to strengthen for Democrats and weaken for Republicans in an environment that isn't rosy for GOP around the nation. Recent national research conducted by Democracy Corps and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner shows 70% of respondents saying our nation is on the wrong track. In Maine, we're seeing much the same in recent internal polling with dissatisfaction reaching 69%.
This bodes well for Maine Democrats and for Tom Allen in his challenge to Susan Collins in 2008.
Just last week Maine Democrats won three of five special elections in the State House, boosting the number of seats held by Democrats to 90 of 151, two of which are held by independents. Democrats haven't held 90 seats in more than a decade.
State Republicans admitted the environment doesn't favor them as they also gave credit to a strong ground game operated by their counterparts. According to the AP, "Maine Republican Party Executive Director Julie O'Brien said the outcome should serve as 'a wake-up call' for Republicans. 'Democrats do very, very well at mobilizing volunteers, getting out the vote ... To be honest, Republicans need to take a lesson from that.'"
Recent polls reflect Tom Allen's steep climb over the next year, but they also illustrate Susan Collins' vulnerability. Not only are national and state wrong track numbers bad news, abut her job approval and favorability ratings - now in the mid to high 50s, -- have fallen by double digits over the past couple of years and are lower now than Lincoln Chafee's were the day he was defeated by Sheldon Whitehouse.
Tom Allen has the time and the fundraising strength to win. Third quarter fundraising results of almost $670,000 pushed Tom Allen's cash on hand to $2,112,801.40, compared to Susan Collins' $3.1 million. Fundraising is on track to meet budget and totals put Tom Allen ahead of most other challengers across the nation. One only need to look at Senators Whitehouse, Tester and Webb from the 2006 cycle to see three victors who many months from election day faced double digit deficits against entrenched incumbents. And much like the Whitehouse-Chafee race, this match will never be about likeability - both Allen and Collins have plenty of that. It's about the issues: Iraq, health care, a middle class squeezed by Bush-Cheney economic policies.
Unlike past elections in Maine, the wrong track is largely driven by Iraq. A recent Survey USA poll showed that 25% of respondents chose Iraq as the top issue facing Maine. Of those voters, Tom Allen leads Susan Collins by 9%. Remember, Tom Allen is one of 133 Members of Congress who voted against the war and the candidate with a consistent voice to get us out of Iraq. Susan Collins voted for the war and has consistently agreed with the Bush-Cheney policies down the line. Collins is on very thin ice, and there are powerful forces at play that are aligned against her.
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Tom Allen for Senate