- For an Independent candidate, it is often a compliment to your success when people start attacking you. Cutler has earned himself an attack site from critics. Dubbed the “Secret File on Eliot Cutler”, its owners (or owner?) are completely anonymous and like to compare themselves to Deep Throat or Thomas Paine. Somehow I think the analogy falls flat…
- Democrat Libby Mitchell has apparently taken a stand in favor of inclusiveness in the gubernatorial debates. She refuses to debate unless all five candidates, including Independents Shawn Moody and Kevin Scott, are included in each potential debate. (Mitchell may simple be taking a principled stand, or trying to dilute Cutler’s Independent support, or a little of both). This has left LePage and Independent Eliot Cutler holding a few one-on-one debates, which are beginning to get pretty heated as the Republican candidate deals with residency questions.
- Mitchell has appeared in at least one debate with Cutler (along with Moody and Scott). Coincidentally, LePage had a scheduling conflict. Cutler got into it with Scott in one exchange:
A clear divide emerged as Hamilton asked candidates about a recent federal court decision declaring California’s ban on gay marriage to be unconstitutional and what their actions in office would be if that decision is ultimately upheld. Cutler and Mitchell belted support for gay marriage to an attentive gallery, while Moody and Scott backed away from staking out a side on the issue. Both said they would defer the issue to approval or dismissal by voters in a referendum.
“I will stand up and say that if Maine had gone the other way, I would stand for that as well,” Scott said of last November’s statewide vote to repeal a gay marriage law passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. John Baldacci in spring 2009.
Cutler followed with a sharp disagreement. “This is not a matter of political choice,” Cutler said. “Nobody’s rights are subject to referendum.”
- Cutler seems to be suffering from a crowded field of Independent candidates. The last poll of the race IPR reported on in August was from Rasmussen, showing Cutler at 16%. However, two polls that have come out recently seem to show Cutler’s support sagging. First, a PPP poll last week.
A poll released today by Public Policy Polling of Raleigh, North Carolina, shows Republican Paul LePage leading Democrat Libby Mitchell 43-29 percent in the race for governor, with independent Eliot Cutler at 11 percent.
Independent Shawn Moody polled at 5 percent, independent Kevin Scott came in with 1 percent and 12 percent were undecided.
- Then came another poll showing similar results.
…a statewide poll conducted by Critical Insights for MaineToday Media put the gubernatorial race as of Sept. 13 at 38 percent for LePage, 25 percent for Mitchell, 11 percent for Cutler, 4 percent for independent Shawn Moody and 1 percent for independent Kevin Scott.
Twenty-one percent of those polled, meanwhile, still don’t know which box they’ll check come Nov. 2.
In other words, The Maine Poll shows little has changed since previous surveys revealed essentially the same split among the three front-runners. LePage remains the man to beat, while both Mitchell and Cutler appear to be going nowhere fast in their efforts to overtake him.
- The polls illustrate one of Cutler’s two big barriers to victory- the diluted Independent vote. Moody, a self-funding millionaire, seems to be starting to pick up support for his candidacy with showings of 4%-5% (placing him in the top 10 minor party or indy gubernatorial candidacies in his own right I might add).
- The second problem illustrated by the polls is LePage’s dominating lead. Cutler has not had a major bump in the polls since summer. With Democrat Libby Mitchell splitting the left-center vote with Cutler, neither has been able to get the momentum to move into contention with the Republican. Traditionally, Independents go one of two ways as election day approaches. They either begin to gain momentum, like Jesse Ventura in Minnesota or Angus King in Maine, or they begin to lose support as they are perceived as “spoilers” or “wasted votes”. Cutler has a lot of work to do if he wants to follow King’s example into the Blaine House.