Maine Reverberations and Other Tidbits
Why is the 57-32 poll not bad news for Tom Allen? Three reasons. First, Collins clocking in at 57 is already 16 points below her November approval of 73%. It demonstrates that her approval rating is not a rock solid indicator. Second, the 25-point differential isn't way off of the 18-point differential by which Collins beat Chellie Pingree in 2002. With a year and a half before Election Day, and with much better financing than Pingree, Allen starts off only nominally behind where Pingree finished. (Note also that Collins won 59% of the vote on Election Day 2002, so she starts off already behind where she left off in 2002.)
Finally, note that the poll was conducted in late April, well before Tom Allen was an announced candidate. He wasn't a legitimate alternative because he wasn't a Senate candidate yet. Now, he is. Similarly, polling had Al Franken 20 points behind Norm Coleman in Minnesota on the very day Franken announced. About a month later, polling only had Franken 10 points down. A month from now, expect polling to be significantly tighter than the 25-point gap between a two-term incumbent and an as-of-then-unannounced candidate.
Separately, but probably not coincidentally, on the day Congressman Allen announced his Senate bid, Susan Collins announced that "she will consider calling for troops to be withdrawn from Iraq if sufficient progress has not been made in the country by September." (HT: Collins Watch) The Guru would like to personally thank Susan Collins for illustrating as clear as a bell the difference in "leadership" between herself and Tom Allen. Allen opposed Bush's Iraq War from the start, even when it was unpopular to do so. He saw Bush's "plan" fraught with peril and opposed it. Susan Collins, however, enabled Bush, offered no oversight and certainly no leadership; and now that the war is horribly unpopular and she has a top tier challenger, she says she'll consider bringing the troops home several months from now. Susan Collins has exhibited zero leadership on Iraq. Tom Allen now has a statewide platform as a Senate candidate to tour the entire state and explain this to voters.