There’s less than a week until the GOP’s July 14 ranked choice voting (RCV) primary in Maine’s Second Congressional District—and a recent poll conducted by FairVote illustrates the state of the hotly-contested three-way race.
The poll, conducted in conjunction with SurveyUSA and released July 8, surveyed 604 likely CD-2 Republican primary voters on June 30 through July 6. The poll was conducted via RCV—the voting method that will be used in the race itself.
In the poll, former state legislator Dale Crafts led with 46.16 percent of first-choice support, followed by realtor Adrienne Bennett with 30.73 percent support and former U.S. Senate candidate Eric Brakey with 23.1 percent support. Once support for Brakey was reallocated according to his supporters’ second-choice preferences, Crafts maintained majority support over Bennett, 59 percent to 41 percent. However, Bennett does still have a path to victory if, come election day, she can secure 75 percent of Eric Brakey voters' second choices.
In any case, the clear preference for Crafts among respondents held true in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup against Brakey, where he triumphed 60 percent to 40 percent.
In 2018, Maine’s CD-2 became the first congressional race in U.S. history to decide its winner via RCV. Despite incumbent Bruce Poliquin receiving a plurality of first-choice support, Democrat Jared Golden achieved majority support in the third round of balloting. It remains one of the few “swing districts” in the country; President Trump carried it by 10 points in 2016 before Golden triumphed in 2018. Indeed, the RCV primary—by ensuring the eventual nominee has majority support from the party—will help the GOP consolidate support before it heads into November’s general election.
Additionally, the RCV poll shed light on the ease of ranking candidates, with a large majority of surveyed Republicans (68 percent) report ranking candidates is “very easy” or “easy”, as opposed to 12% percent finding it “very hard.” All Maine voters will cast RCV ballots this November in elections for U.S. Senate, U.S. House and potentially president.
For more FairVote analysis of the poll (and to check out early RCV insight into the 2024 Republican Primary), head to this page.
Photo by Mercedes Mehling on Unsplash