Critical Insights on MaineTM Tracking Survey ~ Fall 2011~

Residents’ Views on Politics, the Economy, & Issues Facing the State of Maine
October 2011
Focus Groups • Surveys • Public Opinion Polling 120 Exchange Street, Portland, Maine 04101 Telephone: 207-772-4011 • Fax: 207-772-7027 www.criticalinsights.com October 2010 October 2011 May 2010 120 Exchange Street Portland • Maine www.criticalinsights.com

1

Introduction

October 2010 October 2011 May 2010

120 Exchange Street Portland • Maine www.criticalinsights.com

2

Background & Methodology
• Each Spring and Fall, Critical Insights conducts the Critical Insights on MaineTM Tracking Survey, a comprehensive, statewide public opinion survey of registered voters which covers a variety of topics of interest to business, government, and the general public.
– In addition to general interest items (the results of which are released to the media as a public service) the survey also includes a number of proprietary items included in the poll on behalf of sponsoring entities, with results of those items released only to those sponsors.

For the current wave of the study, Critical Insights completed a total of 600 telephone interviews with randomly selected likely voters across the state between October 1823, 2011.
– – – With a sample of 600 interviews, results presented here have an associated sampling error of +/- 4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All interviews were conducted with self-reported registered and likely voters; final data was statistically weighted according to relevant demographics to reflect the voter base in Maine. On average, the entire survey instrument – including both general interest items and all subscriber questions – was 17 minutes in administrative length.

This document presents results of general interest questions which Critical Insights makes public to the media.
– Where appropriate, comparisons of current results are made with findings from past iterations of the Critical Insights on MaineTM Tracking Survey. 3 October 2011
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Research Highlights

October 2010 October 2011 May 2010

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4

Issues Facing Maine & Perceptions of the Economy

October 2010 October 2011 May 2010

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5

Perspectives on Issues Facing the State of Maine
• While concerns about the economy remain consistent with results observed in the past several iterations of the Critical Insights on MaineTM Tracking Survey, unemployment surpasses economic concerns and emerges as the most important issue facing Maine at this time, cited by more than 4-in-10 residents.
– Specific concerns about unemployment were noted by only 11% of Maine residents two years ago, but has since risen steadily to hit an 11-year high of 44% for the Critical Insights on MaineTM Tracking Survey. As was observed in previous iterations of the survey, despite continuing concerns, unprompted mentions regarding the economy continue to hover at about half the frequency noted in the Fall of 2008, when economic concerns reached a high of 59%.
• Interestingly, while these concerns tend to be equally prevalent among all resident subgroups, broad concerns about the economy are significantly higher among more affluent Mainers ($75,000 or more annually).

Taxation, education, and healthcare round out the top concerns mentioned by Mainers, with results for taxation and healthcare concerns dropping when compared to the previous wave of Critical Insights on MaineTM.
• Taxation is an issue particularly with male residents, while those in the Northern region of the state express more concern than others over education.

October 2011

120 Exchange Street Portland • Maine www.criticalinsights.com

6

Issues Facing the State of Maine
In your opinion, what is the most important issue facing Maine today? *
100 80 60 40 20 0

Percent

Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall '00 '00 '01 '01 '02 '02 '03 '03 '04 '04 '05 '05 '06 '06 '07 '07 '08 '08 '09 '09 '10 '10 '11 '11 7 8 12 9 27 11 9 9 9 16 13 14 10 12 15 15 22 7 4 5 19 13 15 11 8 19 17 16 16 9 24 21 15 12 8 26 15 14 13 7 27 12 26 10 5 25 14 25 13 4 23 17 21 7 4 17 16 21 12 4 17 12 20 9 5 14 16 34 12 5 17 13 24 14 7 17 16 18 15 9 6 36 10 5 2 12 59 8 7 1 27 35 7 7 3 11 31 10 17 3 27 33 9 7 7 30 33 8 5 6 30 31 5 7 3 44 35 4 3 4

Unemployment Economy Taxes Health care Education

* Top responses shown. 120 Exchange Street Portland • Maine www.criticalinsights.com

7

October 2011

Perspectives on Near-Term Economic Concerns
• When voters were asked to cite the specific economic concern that will be causing them the most worry over the next six months, the issue of job loss (mentioned by fully one-quarter of residents) rose to the top spot again as it had in the Fall 2010 wave of Critical Insights on MaineTM – not surprisingly given current concerns about unemployment as an overall issue facing Maine.
– Other chief financial concerns in the near term include the overall cost of living (18%) – remaining relatively stable with results observed in other recent waves of the survey – and concerns about gas and utility prices (16%). These results are a departure from what was observed in the Spring ‘11 survey, when in a bit of a reversal, concern over gas prices was 32% and concern over job loss was 17%. While results tend to be evenly distributed among resident subgroups, the issue of gas and utility costs is of particular concern to less affluent residents and those who reside in Northern Maine.

– –

Similarly, when residents were asked specifically to note their level of concern over the next 12 months that they or someone else in the household might be out of work, nearly 3-in-10 claimed to be concerned.
– Concern was most acute among Mainers with a lower socio-economic status.

October 2011

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8

Near-Term Economic Concerns
As you think about the next 6 months what economic or financial situations concern you the MOST?
Job loss 17 18 19 20 16 12 7 13 12 9 10 11 5 5 8 32 25 32 Fall '11 Spring '11 Fall '10

Cost of living

Price of gas/utilities

Economy

Health care

Gov't spending/Debt

Education

6 5 7 5 4 0

Taxes

15 20 40 Percent 60 80 100

* Top responses shown. Multiple responses accepted. 120 Exchange Street Portland • Maine www.criticalinsights.com

9

October 2011

Concern Over Job Loss
How concerned are you that in the next 12 months you or someone else in your household might be out of work and looking for a job?

Fall '11

52

19

29

Spr '11

59

15

26

Fall '10

53

16

31

0%

20%

40%

60%

80%

100%

Less concerned

Neutral/Unsure

Concerned

October 2011

120 Exchange Street Portland • Maine www.criticalinsights.com

10

Maine Residents’ Views on the Economy
• In a noticeably negative shift from recent waves of Critical Insights on MaineTM, only one-tenth of residents feel that the economy is doing better than it was 12 months ago (down from 27% in the Spring 2011 survey), while 47% feel it is doing worse (up from 35% in Spring ‘11).
– The proportion of poll respondents saying the economy is “about the same” as it was a year ago is comparable to results from recent waves of the survey.

Looking ahead to the coming year, nearly one-third of Mainers (30%) anticipate things will improve – comparable to results from the most recent surveys.
– – The proportion of residents expecting things to be “worse” in 12 months is almost identical to Spring ‘11 results, showing a minor uptick since the Fall 2010 survey. Pessimism about both the current and future state of the economy is highest among residents 45 years of age or older.

Residents’ overall sense of economic pessimism is also reflected in their estimates of the timing for economic recovery, with fully two-thirds (67%) noting that they believe the recession will last at least another two years.

October 2011

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11

Current State of the Economy
Compared with 12 months ago, how would you describe the overall status of the economy? Would you say it is…
100

80

Percent

60

40

20

0

Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall '00 '00 '01 '01 '02 '02 '03 '03 '04 '04 '05 '05 '06 '06 '07 '07 '08 '08 '09 '09 '10 '10 '11 '11 39 45 15 39 48 13 11 39 49 7 26 67 17 38 44 10 32 56 6 28 66 16 35 47 20 31 49 20 36 43 10 39 50 7 23 70 13 34 52 17 40 41 9 42 47 6 33 61 1 8 91 1 7 92 10 18 71 27 31 41 31 36 32 21 40 38 27 38 35 10 41 47

Better About the same Worse

October 2011

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12

Future State of the Economy
Now think about the future of the economy. In the next 12 months, do you think the economy will be . . .
100

80

60 Percent

40

20

0

Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall '00 '00 '01 '01 '02 '02 '03 '03 '04 '04 '05 '05 '06 '06 '07 '07 '08 '08 '09 '09 '10 '10 '11 '11 24 23 20 55 17 23 38 37 33 24 41 47 36 14 34 38 26 36 36 25 33 38 27 29 37 31 30 41 25 14 33 51 12 33 53 17 35 44 18 44 31 16 46 37 12 35 49 15 26 55 35 26 33 46 27 24 43 34 20 43 33 19 35 38 20 34 36 24 30 41 25

Better Worse

About the same 50

October 2011

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13

Length of the Recession
How much longer do you think the current recession will last: Six months, 1 year, 2 years or More than 2 years?
Six months 3 18 1 year 21 23 23 23 26 44 42 40 3 2 3 7 7 5 0 20 40 Percent 60 80 100 6 5
Fall '11 Spring '11 Fall '10

2 years

More than 2 years

It's over

DK/Refused

October 2011

120 Exchange Street Portland • Maine www.criticalinsights.com

14

Maine Residents’ Personal Household Financial Situation
• Despite the economic downturn and employment concerns, Maine residents’ ability to save – a key indicator of personal and household financial health – has remained relatively stable over the past two years and is nearly identical to Spring ‘11 results.
– – Only a small bloc of residents (12%) are saving more than they did last year, and the proportion of residents saving less hovers at 45%. Among different income brackets, lower-income households are finding it harder to save than middle- and upper-income households; indeed, more than half (51%) of households making under $50k say they are saving less than they did last year.

Like personal savings, results for anticipated levels of holiday spending have also remained stable over time.
– – – Nearly half of residents polled (49%) suggest that their holiday spending this year will be less than in ‘10; this is particularly true among lower- and middle-income residents. A comparable proportion of Mainers (45%) say they will be spending about the same amount as last year, especially higher-income residents. Notably, very few residents claim that they will be spending more than last year during the upcoming holiday season (4%).

October 2011

120 Exchange Street Portland • Maine www.criticalinsights.com

15

Household Financial Situation: Personal Savings
Compared to last year, would you say your household is putting more into personal savings, about the same amount, or saving less?
100

80

60

Percent

40

20

0

Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr '99 '99 '00 '00 '01 '01 '02 '02 '03 21 44 35 20 45 35 26 42 31 19 46 35 21 40 39 17 45 38 23 42 35 14 41 45 17 43 40

Fall Spr Fall Spr '03 '04 '04 '05 15 41 44 15 37 48 15 36 48 12 38 49

Fall Spr '05 '06 9 35 56 11 35 54

Spr Fall Spr Fall Spr '07 '07 '08 '08 '09 12 35 52 9 38 51 7 32 60 8 35 56 12 41 45

Fall Spr Fall Spr '09 '10 '10 '11 13 42 44 16 39 42 15 42 42 12 41 45

Fall '11 12 42 45

More About the same Less

October 2011

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16

Intended Holiday Spending
Thinking about the upcoming holiday season, are you planning to spend MORE than you did last year on holiday gifts, will you spend about the SAME as you did last year, or will you spend LESS than you did last year?

Fall '11

4

45

49

Fall '10

3

49

48

0%

20%

40%

60%

80%

100%

M ore

Same

Less

October 2011

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17

Observations on National and State Politics

October 2010 October 2011 May 2010

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18

Maine Residents’ Perspectives on the Direction of the Nation
• Pessimism concerning the nation’s overall direction has intensified over the past six months, both among Maine residents and the country as a whole.
– Indeed, only 19% of Maine residents and 17% of U.S. residents say the country is headed in the right direction; by comparison, 66% of Mainers and 74% of U.S. residents say the country is on the wrong track. Democrats and the youngest residents have the most positive outlook, while Republicans, Independents, and Mainers age 35 or older tend to be more pessimistic regarding the nation’s direction.

Maine residents are more optimistic about the direction of the state than they are the nation as whole, with fully 4-in-10 stating that the state is headed in the right direction (up 17 percentage points since last spring).
– – – An equal proportion of residents (40%) feel that the state is heading in the wrong direction. Almost half of Mainers who state that Maine is going in the right direction attribute their views to the job the Governor is doing. Among those who feel that that stat is headed in the wrong direction, 37% attribute their views to the Governor and 31% to the bad economy and lack of jobs.

It is interesting to note that while Democrats are more likely to feel that the nation is heading in the right direction, Republicans are more likely to suggest that the state is heading in the right direction.
19

October 2011

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Direction of the Nation: Maine vs. U.S.
All in all, do you think things in the nation are generally headed in the right direction, or do you feel that things are off on the wrong track?
100 15 80 40 60 6 2 11 8 16 9 3 15 25 35 54 42 59 47 59 60 40 59 20 45 44 47 33 37 32 25 45 30 17 0 US Spring Maine US Fall Maine US Spring Maine US Fall Maine US Spring Maine US Fall '11 Maine '09***** Residents '09**** Residents '10*** Residents '10** Residents '11* Residents ^ Residents Spring '09 Fall '09 Spring '10 Fall '10 Spring '11 Fall '11
^ Source: NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll, Oct. 6-10, 2011 *Source: AP-GfK Poll. May 5-9, 2011 **Source: NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll. Oct. 14-18, 2010 ***Source: NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, March 11, 13-14, 2010 ****Source: Washington Post/ABC News poll, Oct. 15-18, 2009 *****Source: CBS News poll, May 6-12. 2009

9

15

52

45

74

66

19

Right Direction

Wrong track

Unsure

October 2011

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20

Reasons for Nation Heading in Right/Wrong Direction
Why do you say that?
Right Direction (n=111)
President / Politicians trying to change things 34

Wrong Track (n=398)
Bad economy / Lack of jobs 30

Congress dysfunctional / Disunity / No focus
Feels optimistic 24

24

President / Politicians not doing the right things Quality of life not improving

19

13

Economy improving

20

Too much devoted to things outside country / Wars
Foreign Affairs going well 10

9

Rich getting richer / Middle class shrinking
20 40 Percent 60 80 100

6

0

0

20

40

Percent

60

80

100

* Top responses shown. Multiple responses accepted. 120 Exchange Street Portland • Maine www.criticalinsights.com

21

October 2011

Direction of the State of Maine
All in all, do you think things in Maine are generally headed in the right direction, or do you feel that things are off on the wrong track?
100

7 17 21 15 31 19

80

59 60 52 49 62 45 40

40

20

34

40 30 30 23 23

0 Spring '09 Fall '09 Spring '10 Fall '10 Spring '11 Mixed/Don't know Fall '11

Right Direction

Wrong track

October 2011

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22

Reasons for State Heading in Right/Wrong Direction
Why do you say that?
Right Direction (n=243)
Government / Governor getting things to work 48

Wrong Track (n=237)
Disagree with Governor 37

Bad economy / Lack of jobs
More jobs becoming available 19

31

Regulation / Taxes

9

Economy improving

15

Quality of life not improving

8

Quality of education diminishing
Feels optimistic 11

7

Disunity / No focus

5

0

20

40

Percent

60

80

100

0

20

40

Percent

60

80

100

* Top responses shown. Multiple responses accepted. 120 Exchange Street Portland • Maine www.criticalinsights.com

23

October 2011

Maine Residents’ Views on President Obama
• President Obama’s favorability ratings among Maine residents is the lowest it has been during his Presidency (43%).
– – Maine residents’ favorability toward the President is markedly lower than the national results (54%). About 7-in-10 Democrats (71%) have a favorable view of the president, compared to threequarters of Republicans (76%) who have an unfavorable view.

• •

Only 36% of Maine residents have a positive view of how the President is handling the economy and more than half (54%) disapprove, similar to national results. Also on par with the country as a whole, half of Mainers polled do not approve of how the President is handling taxes.
– Again, approval of the President’s performance is closely tied to political party affiliation.

October 2011

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24

Presidential Favorability Ratings: Maine vs. U.S.
Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of President Barack Obama?
100

5 29

14 25

7 37

15 29

4 41

12

5 42

2 15 44 33

11

80

39

60

45

40

66
20

61

56

56

55

47

53

52

54

43

0

US Maine US Fall Maine US Maine US Maine US Fall Maine Spring Residents '09*** Residents Spring Residents Spring Residents '11 ^ Residents '09**** Spring '09 Fall '09 '10** Spring '10 '11* Spring '11 Fall '11
^ Source: ABC-GfK poll, Oct. 13-17, 2011 *Source: Daily Kos poll, April 28-May 1, 2011 ** Source: Daily Kos poll, May 3-6, 2010 *** Source: Daily Kos poll, Oct. 19-22, 2009 **** Source: Daily Kos poll, May 18-21, 2009

Favorable

Unfavorable

Don't know/refused

October 2011

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25

Assessment of Presidential Job Performance: Economy
Do you approve or disapprove of the way President Obama is handling the economy?
Maine Residents Fall '11 36 54 10

US Fall '11 ^

35

61

4

Maine Residents Spring '11

43

44

13

US Spring '11*

37

58

5

Maine Residents Spring '10

46

43

10

US Spring '10**

43

46

11

0%

20% Approve

40% Disapprove

60%

80%

100%

Don't know/Refused

^ Source: ABC News/Washington Post poll, Sept. 29-Oct. 2, 2011 * Source: NBC News poll, May 5-7, 2011 ** Source: CBS News/New York Times poll, April 5-12, 2010

October 2011

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26

Assessment of Presidential Job Performance: Taxes
Do you approve or disapprove of the way President Barack Obama is handling the taxes?

M aine Residents Fall '11

39

49

12

US Fall '11 *

42

51

7

0%

20% Approve

40% Disapprove

60%

80%

100%

Don't know/Refused

*Source: ABC News/Washington News poll, Sept. 29-Oct. 2, 2011

October 2011

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27

Views Toward Israel/Palestinians
Do you favor or oppose the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip?

Maine Residents Fall '11

35

25

39

US Fall '11 *

40

41

19

0%

20% Favor

40% Oppose

60%

80%

100%

Don't know/Refused

* Source: CNN/ORC poll, Sept. 23-25, 2011

October 2011

120 Exchange Street Portland • Maine www.criticalinsights.com

28

Approval Ratings for Governor Paul LePage
• Nine months into his tenure as Governor, 47% of Mainers express approval for the job Governor LePage is doing as Governor – up 16 percentage points from the Spring 2011 Critical Insights on MaineTM survey – fully 4-in-10 disapprove of the job the Governor is doing.
– – – While 71% of Republicans approve of Governor LePage’s job performance, 62% of Democrats disapprove. Independents’ views of the Governor are mixed. Men, less highly educated Mainers, and the youngest residents polled are more likely than other subgroups to approve of the job the Governor is doing. Conversely, women, college graduates, and residents who are 35 years of age or older are more likely to disapprove of the Governor’s job performance.

October 2011

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29

Approval Ratings of Governor Paul LePage
Do you approve or disapprove of the way Governor LePage is handling his job as governor of Maine?

Fall '11

47

40

12

Spr '11

31

54

15

0%

20%

40%

60%

80%

100%

Approve

Disapprove

Don't know/Refused

October 2011

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30

Voter Preferences

October 2010 October 2011 May 2010

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31 31

Stated Voter Political Affiliation

In what political party are you registered to vote? Democrat Republican Independent Don’t know/Refused

Percent of Sample 33% 31 31 4

October 2011

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32

Party That Best Serves Interests
Which of the following two political parties – Democrat or Republican – do you feel best serves your interests?

Fall '11

37

35

20

3 5

Spring '11

39

31

22

4 4

Spring '10

38

33

21

5 3

0

20 Democrats

40 Republicans Neither

60 Both

80 Don't know/Refused

100

October 2011

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33

Stated Voter Plans for November 8th
Do you think you’ll vote in person at your polling place on Election Day, or vote before Election Day by early voting or mail-in/absentee ballot?
Don't Early know/Refused voting/absentee 3% 11%

Vote in person 86%

October 2011

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34

Presidential Race
• Consistent with Presidential approval ratings noted previously in this report, more than 4-in-10 Mainers say they would vote for Barack Obama over Republican candidates Mitt Romney or Rick Perry if the 2012 election were held today.
– Results for President Obama are nearly identical to national results, but Mainers tend to be more indecisive than the country as a whole rather than claiming they would vote for either Romney or Perry. Older and more highly educated Mainers are significantly more likely than others to say they would vote for President Obama.

October 2011

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35

Presidential Voter Preference: Obama vs. Romney
If the 2012 election for president were being held today, and the candidates were Barack Obama the Democrat and Mitt Romney the Republican, for whom would you vote?

41 Barack Obama 42

Maine Residents Fall '11 US Fall '11 *

40 Mitt Romney 46

19 Don't know/Refused 12

0
* Source: Quinnipiac University poll, Sept. 27-Oct. 3, 2011

20

40 Percent

60

80

100

October 2011

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36

Presidential Voter Preference: Obama vs. Perry
If the 2012 election for president were being held today, and the candidates were Barack Obama the Democrat and Rick Perry the Republican, for whom would you vote?
46 Barack Obama 45 M aine Residents Fall '11 US Fall '11 *

32 Rick Perry 44

22 Don't know/Refused 11

0
* Source: Quinnipiac University poll, Sept. 27-Oct. 3, 2011

20

40 Percent

60

80

100

October 2011

120 Exchange Street Portland • Maine www.criticalinsights.com

37

November 8th Referendum Questions
• Overall, just over half of Maine voters polled (51%) report that they intend to vote ‘Yes’ on Question 1, that would repeal the requirement that new voters register at least two business days prior to an election.
– Support for this ballot question is highest among college-educated residents and Democrats.

• •

Of the remaining voters, 43% state that they intend to vote ‘No’ and 6% are undecided. Results are mixed on Question 4 which would amend the Constitution of Maine to change the years of redistricting the Maine Legislature, congressional districts, and county commissioner districts.
– – Indeed, 32% of voters say they intend to vote ‘Yes,’ 33% would vote ‘No,’ and 34% are undecided. Support for this ballot question is highest among men and Mainers with a higher socioeconomic status.

October 2011

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38

Stated Voter Intentions on Question 1
“Do you want to reject the section of Chapter 399 of the Public Laws of 2011 that requires new voters to register to vote at least two business days prior to an election?” If you were voting today, please tell me how you vote: Yes or No.

Don't know 6%

No 43%

Yes 51%

October 2011

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39

Stated Voter Intentions on Question 4
“Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to change the years of redistricting the Maine Legislature, congressional districts and county commissioner districts after 2013 from 2023 and every 10th year thereafter to 2021 and every 10th year thereafter?” If you were voting today, please tell me how you vote: Yes or No.

Don't know/Refused 35%

Yes 32%

No 33%

October 2011

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40

Sample Profile

October 2010 October 2011 May 2010

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41 41

Respondent Gender and Age
Into which of the following categories does your age fall? 18 to 34 35 to 44
Male 47% Female 53%

Percent of Sample 13% 29 21 20 11 6

45 to 54 55 to 64 65 to 74 75 and older

October 2011

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42

Household Composition
How many adults 18 years of age or older, including yourself, live in your household? 1 2 3 or more How many children, under the age of 18, live in your household? 1 2 3 or more None Percent of Sample 14% 61 23

Percent of Sample 17% 17 7 58

October 2011

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43

Tenure of Residency in Maine

How many years have you lived in the State of Maine? Less than 5 years 5 to 10 years More than 10 years

Percent of Sample 2% 8 88

October 2011

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44

Socio-Economic Dimensions: Education and Income
What is the highest level of education you have completed? Some high school or less Graduated high school Technical/Vocational/Community College Some college Graduated college Graduate school Which of the following categories best describes your total household income before taxes last year? Less than $15,000 $15,000 to $24,999 $25,000 to $34,999 $35,000 to $49,999 $50,000 to $74,999 $75,000 or more Don’t know/Refused Percent of Sample 4% 23 4 20 34 14 Percent of Sample 5% 6 9 13 22 29 16 45

October 2011

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