Polls find Poliquin increasingly vulnerable because of health care, tax votes

With Lewiston state Rep. Jared Golden likely securing the Democratic nomination for the 2nd District congressional race, new research shows Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin may have a hard holding on to his seat after voting for health care repeal and tax cuts for large corporations and the wealthy.

Recent polling from Clarity Campaigns shows that the more 2nd District voters know about Poliquin’s votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act and for the passage of the 2017 tax reform bill, the more they disapprove of him.

Advocacy groups Not One Penny and Protect Our Care, who paid for the polls, have been working on on an accountability campaign informing voters in the Bangor area about Poliquin’s health care and tax cut votes for the past ten months. The survey, which measured voter approval of Poliquin before and after the campaign, found that, initially, 38 percent of 2nd District voters disapproved of Poliquin. After advertisements about his votes ran, that number rose to 45 percent.

“The campaign has had a significant impact on voters in this district thus far,” read a case study produced by the groups. “The results in ME-02 demonstrate clearly that voters care deeply about these issues are willing to hold members of Congress who voted for them accountable for those votes.”

The increase shows the important role that health care will play in the 2nd District race. Nationally, health care ranks as the top concern for voters, and along with his vote to repeal the ACA, Poliquin’s tax vote has jeopardized the coverage of 550,000 Mainers with pre-existing conditions.

After Tuesday’s busy primary, where about 31,000 more Democrats voted than Republicans statewide, Golden is the likely Democratic nominee for the 2nd District’s House seat and will face Poliquin in November. Golden, a Marine Corps veteran, has advocated for healthcare for all and sponsored legislation to help fund health services for Maine veterans. He also supported Medicaid expansion in Maine and has pushed back against Gov. Paul LePage’s attempts to undermine the referendum results.

(Photo: Jeff Kirlin/ The Thing of the Moment)

Sign up for Beacon newsletters

Our newsletter, sent each evening, curates the day's most important stories from newsrooms around Maine.