Republican Susan Collins' Democratic Challenger Holds Slim Lead in 2020 Maine Senate Race, New Poll Shows

The results of a poll released Tuesday showed that support for Maine Senator Susan Collins, a Republican, had fallen just behind that of one of her Democratic challengers, Sara Gideon.

Collins, who took office in 1997, is the state's senior senator. She is up for re-election this year, and there is a primary race to determine which Democratic candidate will face her in November. Gideon, the speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, is one of those candidates.

The poll was developed by Colby College and conducted by SocialSphere between February 10 and 13. Respondents were 1,008 registered state voters. The poll reported that 42 percent of the respondents said they would support Collins in her bid for re-election, while 43 percent said they would vote for Gideon. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

"There's a long way to go, and things can change," Dan Shea, a professor of government at Colby College and the poll's lead researcher, said about the race in a news release. "However, the results indicate this could be the kind of race Senator Collins has not had to deal with before."

Shea also noted that Collins won re-election with 67 percent of the vote in 2014.

Newsweek contacted Collins' Senate office as well as Gideon's campaign for comments on the poll but did not receive replies before publication.

Maine's Democratic primary, in which the state's voters will decide on candidates in the Senate and presidential races, will take place March 3. The Colby poll reported that 60 percent of Maine voters would have voted for Gideon if the primary had been held that day, well ahead of fellow Democrats Betsy Sweet, Ross LaJeunesse and Bre Kidman.

On Twitter Wednesday morning, the Democratic Coalition, a left-leaning super PAC founded in 2016, expressed its support for Gideon, with a reference to the poll as it appeared on MSNBC.

"Great News: Susan Collins' decision to acquit Trump after foolishly thinking he would 'learn his lesson' from impeachment is hurting her badly in Maine," the tweet read.

Great News: Susan Collins' decision to acquit Trump after foolishly thinking he would "learn his lesson" from impeachment is hurting her badly in Maine.

Please help us elect @SaraGideon and #FlipTheSenate here: https://t.co/A9SPN32LSJ pic.twitter.com/X8q3K7CLgQ

— Democratic Coalition (@TheDemCoalition) February 19, 2020

Collins has made headlines in recent months for her role in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. During the trial, it was initially uncertain whether the Senate would allow witnesses to testify, as had been done in the two previous impeachment trials had. Some thought that if witnesses such as John Bolton, Trump's former national security adviser, were allowed to testify, it would hurt the president.

The Senate ultimately voted 51-49 to reject a motion to allow witnesses. Collins, along with Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, broke with her party and voted along with the Democrats to allow additional witnesses and documents. She voted to acquit the president.

Colby's poll found that Mainers were mostly split on what the thought of Collins' actions in the trial. Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they were "disappointed," 31 percent reported "mixed feelings," and 30 percent said they were "proud" of the senator.

Senate Votes On Final Verdict In Impeachment Trial
Senators Susan Collins and John Barrasso walk from the Senate subway to cast a vote in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on February 5. Sarah Silbiger/Getty