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Susan Collins’ approval rating sinks lower as Maine race shifts from ‘lean Republican’ to ‘toss-up’

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Susan Collins photo by Keith Mellnick

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, continues to fall in the polls as she heads into her toughest re-election battle yet.

A new Bangor Daily News poll finds that just 37% of voters approve of the job Collins is doing — a five-point drop from the 42% approval rating she had in the last BDN poll in the fall. The number of voters who disapprove of her performance rises to 52%.

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This article was originally published at Salon

The drop came even as the number of Republicans who approve of Collins increases. Democrats and independents have soured on the longtime lawmaker, who ranked as the most unpopular senator in the country earlier this year.

Collins’ fortunes appear to be tied to those of President Donald Trump, whom she voted to acquit in the impeachment trial after arguing the president had learned a “big lesson.”

Maine voters overwhelmingly said the coronavirus pandemic was the most important issue and gave the Trump administration low marks for its response. Nearly three in four voters say they approve of the state’s response, led by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, while just 44% say they approve of the federal response.

Collins has become increasingly tied to Trump after voting to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh ahead of the impeachment vote despite expressing concern over the sexual assault allegations against the judge.

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The moves have cost Collins a lot of support after she built a brand as a moderate in an increasingly partisan Senate. Collins had an approval rating as high as 69% heading into her last re-election race, but that support has cratered, especially among women.

The votes have made Collins a top target for Democrats, and her Kavanaugh vote led to a crowdfunding campaign that led to a $4 million haul for her eventual challenger. Collins has been the beneficiary of millions in out-of-state money, too, raising just a fraction of her campaign funds from in-state residents.

Two recent polls showed leading Democrat Sara Gideon, the speaker of the state House of Representatives, with a narrow lead over the longtime incumbent. Collins won her last re-election race by more than 35%.

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Collins told The Los Angeles Times earlier this year that she does not “even understand” why voters view her differently than in past elections.

“I am doing exactly the same thing I’ve always done. I’ve always cast votes with an eye to how they affect the state of Maine and our country,” she said. “I think Mainers will look at my record, remember who I am and where I’m from.”

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But a Public Policy Polling survey found that a majority of Democrats and independents believe she voted to acquit Trump in order to protect him politically. And a Colby College poll found that Collins’ Kavanaugh vote also cost her a lot of support among women and independent voters.

While her votes have drawn her closer to Trump, Collins has not received the same support from the president that other vulnerable Republicans heading into tough re-election battles have seen.

Trump has begun to use the coronavirus crisis as an excuse to provide special favors for endangered Republicans, sending hundreds of ventilators to Colorado and Arizona at the request of Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz. Maine has received no such favors in spite of facing a severe shortage.

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Collins’ race was rated a “lean Republican” contest, but it has since moved to the “toss-up” category, according to Roll Call.

“Her personal and job approval ratings continue to deteriorate, and her advantage in ballot tests against Democratic state House Speaker Sara Gideon is slipping as well,” Roll Call’s Nathan Gonzales wrote. “Collins has disposed of credible candidates in the past, but this race will be more challenging.”


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2020 Election

‘Black Voices for Trump’ spokesperson wants to nullify 100,000 Black votes he says were ‘tampered with’

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Paris Dennard, a spokesperson for Black Voices for Trump, on Tuesday suggested that someone "tampered with" the votes of Black Americans in a scheme to steal the election from President Donald Trump.

During an interview on Newsmax, Dennard said that he believes that Trump will overturn the results of the election despite a determination by the General Services Administration (GSA) that Joe Biden is the president elect.

"There's no doubt that if we are able to prove our case in court looking at the states -- Arizona, looking at Georgia, looking at places like Michigan and Pennsylvania -- where we believe that there are irregularities," Dennard opined. "If we can show fraud going forward and toss out illegally cast ballots, ballots that should not have been counted, people that are dead or are not on the roles or if there's anything -- evidence that can be provided about [Dominion Election Systems] and any discrepancies there, it can overturn the certifications in these states and, thus, giving President Trump the win through the legal votes that were cast."

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2020 Election

Conservative fears that Trump-loving conspiracy nuts could hand Democrats the Senate

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Conservative National Review editor Rich Lowry is worried that Trump-loving conspiracy nuts could hand Democrats the Senate during next month's run-off elections in Georgia.

Writing at NRO's "The Corner" blog, Lowry points to recent comments made by President Donald Trump and Trump-backing attorneys Lin Wood and Sidney Powell that attack Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp for following the law and certifying President-elect Joe Biden's win in the Peach State.

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2020 Election

Trump allies relentlessly lobbied election officials in a mad scramble to reverse the president’s loss: report

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On Tuesday, The New York Times podcast "The Daily" looked at how President Donald Trump has — unsuccessfully — tried to use the machinery of state and local government around the country to dismantle

"His team filed a litany of court cases in battleground states. In some, such as Georgia and Michigan, the president and his allies took an even more bullish approach, attempting to use their influence to bear down on election officials, even at the lowest levels of state government," said the report. "They have been relentless and tenacious in the efforts to transform the president’s fortunes. But the results have been immovable: Joe Biden is the president-elect."

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