A new poll shows Maine Gov. Paul LePage and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud are neck in neck among voters in the Pine Tree State's governor's race next year.
Clarity Campaigns polled 628 likely voters earlier this month with LePage and Michaud both grabbing 32 percent , the Bangor Daily News reports
An independent candidate, Eliot Cutler came in a distant third with 24 percent.
Ethan Strimling, a political blogger who broke the story for the Daily News, says the poll reveals LePage to be much more vulnerable than expected.
"This is the lowest I have seen his numbers since well before he took office (really, since he won the primary in 2010). But more importantly, he has dropped below the 35th parallel . . . the line LePage was never supposed to be able to fall below: 35 percent of the vote," Cutler writes.
"That 35 percent was supposed to be his bedrock that would never leave him. If that base is now actually crumbling, he is in very big trouble."
The results come two days after LePage revealed that he's considering stepping down without running for a second term after his budget veto was overridden by legislators.
"I really don’t know how you recover from a tax increase," he said
. "This is a giant obstacle. It’s like having a giant hole in the bottom of your ship and you are trying to get across the pond.”
Michaud, a Democrat representing Maine's 2nd Congressional District, was previous president of the Maine Senate. He announced he would explore a run for governor on June 13.
The outspoken LePage has been in the news in recent months for various controversies.
Last week, he targeted a Democratic opponent with a sexually vulgar phrase involving "Vaseline
" to describe how he believes the lawmaker is taking advantage of taxpayers.
Earlier this month, he called the IRS the "new Gestapo" because of the impending Obamacare mandate that requires Americans to have health insurance coverage or pay a fee.
He later had to back off that statement and say he didn't intend to insult anyone, after Jewish leaders complained that comparisons to the Nazi police force had no place in politics
In May, he raised eyebrows when he suggested Americans get their guns out if their constitutional right to freedom of speech is ever stifled
He also once told the Portland branch of the NAACP to "kiss my butt," called protesters "idiots," and referred to government managers as "corrupt."
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