Saturday, December 7, 2013

Michaud About Nothing

Maine Congressman Mike Michaud (D) decided to write an op-ed article about his sexuality.  Apparently, there was a whisper campaign in Maine about whether he was gay, writing in his op-ed for the Bangor Daily News, "allow me to save them the trouble with a simple, honest answer: 'Yes I am. But why should it matter?'"  He continues, arguing that this should not be seen as a big announcement, "that may seem like a big announcement to some people.  For me, it's just a part of who I am."  Michaud, who is running for governor of Maine, would become the first openly gay person to be governor of any state.

Michaud is running against embattled Governor incumbent Republican Paul LePage and Independent lawyer Eliot Cutler.  Let's see how Michaud is doing in this race and see if his announcement makes a difference in the election.  The below table is how the governor's race looks based on polls from Public Policy Polling.

Date
Michaud
LePage
Cutler
01/21/13
30
34
26
08/26/13
39
35
18
11/12/13
38
36
15

There's a change of about 3% electing to choose "not sure" as an option from August.  With probably a little bit more than 1% switching from Michaud to "not sure."  We can assume this because Michaud generally picks up Cutler supporters.  When Public Policy Polling takes out Cutler from the polling we get the following numbers:

Date
Michaud
LePage
01/21/13
57
36
08/26/13
54
39
11/12/13
53
39

So, we're seeing probably about a 1% or so change in terms of actual voting

I'll also track Michaud's favorability to see if there was a notable difference after coming out in the op-ed.

Date
Favorable
Unfavorable
01/21/13
58
23
08/26/13
53
30
11/12/13
51
33
So, there might be about a 5 point swing in favorability based on that tracking.

Of course, Public Policy Polling asked if his coming out would make a difference in their voting habits.  

More likely
Less likely
No difference
Not sure
12
15
71
2

This is basically what we're seeing in the overall numbers.  There's about 3% of the electorate not really sure who they are going to vote for.  Some of them might be former Cutler supporters who are debating between Michaud and Cutler.  Maybe there is about 1% who are leaving Michaud for "not sure" or LePage, but it's hard to judge.   Of course, to really judge this, we'd want to do a sample from previous Michaud supporters to now.  

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