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Collins trails challenger by 5 points in Maine Senate race: poll

Collins trails challenger by 5 points in Maine Senate race: poll
© Greg Nash

Incumbent Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMcConnell tees up Barrett nomination, setting up rare weekend session Collins says running as Independent 'crossed my mind' Republicans advance Barrett's Supreme Court nomination after Democrats boycott committee vote MORE (R-Maine) is trailing her challenge, Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon (D), by 5 points, according to a new Boston Globe-Suffolk University poll. 

The poll, released on Monday, found that 46 percent of likely Maine voters said they favored Gideon, while 41 percent said they same about Collins. Additionally, only 45 percent of respondents said they had a favorable view of Collins, while another 45 percent viewed her unfavorably. Gideon, on the other hand, had a favorable rating of 56 percent and a 37 percent unfavorable rating. 

The survey comes as a number of polls show an uphill battle for Collins, who has served in the upper chamber for more than 20 years. She was easily reelected in 2014, scoring almost 70 percent of the vote in Maine. 

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This year, the RealClearPolitics polling average shows Gideon leading Collins by 6 points. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the race as a toss-up. And on Monday, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, the election handicapper at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, shifted the race from from "toss-up" to "lean Democratic."

Collins has faced backlash in recent years, most notably for coming out in favor of confirming President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump, Jared Kusher's lawyer threatens to sue Lincoln Project over Times Square billboards Facebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' MORE's Supreme Court nominee Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughCollins says running as Independent 'crossed my mind' Clean energy opportunities in a time of crisis Susan Collins and the American legacy MORE, who was facing sexual misconduct allegations, in 2018. 

The Boston Globe-Suffolk University poll showed Collins's deficit with women. Thirty-three percent of female respondents said they supported Collins, while 54 percent said the same about Gideon. 

Collins is also facing pressure from both sides of the political aisle over the Supreme Court vacancy left by the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgMcConnell tees up Barrett nomination, setting up rare weekend session Jaime Harrison raises million in two weeks for South Carolina Senate bid Dozens of legal experts throw weight behind Supreme Court term limit bill MORE's death.

President Trump hinted on Monday that Collins could face political backlash for siding with Democrats and fellow moderate GOP Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiMcConnell tees up Barrett nomination, setting up rare weekend session Republicans advance Barrett's Supreme Court nomination after Democrats boycott committee vote Democrats to boycott committee vote on Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination MORE (Alaska), who argue the vacancy should not be filled until after the Nov. 3 elections. 

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“I think Susan Collins is very badly hurt by her statement yesterday, and I think, I think Murkowski is very badly hurt, and she doesn’t run for two years, but I think this will follow her into the beautiful, and it is a beautiful, state of Alaska,” Trump said on "Fox & Friends." 

Collins said in a statement over the weekend that she would support the vetting process of a nominee prior to the election but added that the vote should follow Election Day. 

“In order for the American people to have faith in their elected officials, we must act fairly and consistently no matter which political party is in power. President Trump has the constitutional authority to make a nomination to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, and I would have no objection to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s beginning the process of reviewing his nominee’s credentials,” Collins said. 

The Boston Globe-Suffolk University poll was conducted from Sept. 17 to 20 among 500 likely voters in the Maine. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.