I’ve noted before that Maine may not be lost to Republicans after Olympia Snowe’s retirement, as “Independent” former Governor Angus King was showing signs of having no clothes, metaphorically speaking of course.  Maybe a glass jaw would be more appropriate.

A relatively small dose negative advertising took a toll on King last month, as I reported then, Can we do to Dems in Maine what they did to us in Missouri?

Everyone pretty much wrote off Maine when former Governor Angus King announced he would run as an independent for the seat vacated by Olympia Snowe.  Everyone understood that King’s independence notwithstanding, he would caucus with Democrats.

King was far ahead in the polls, and then a funny thing happened.  A Club for Growth related group ran some ads actually pointing out King’s record, and his numbers tanked….

Republican supporting groups also are running ads supporting the Democratic candidate, who has been abandoned by Democrats in favor of King….

A PPP poll released today confirms King’s decline:

PPP’s newest poll on the Maine Senate race finds it much closer than expected, with independent Angus King leading with 43% to 35% for Republican Charlie Summers, and 14% for Democrat Cynthia Dill.

King’s popularity is not what it was at the beginning of the campaign. 52% of voters have a favorable opinion of him to 35% with an unfavorable one. That +17 spread is down a net 21 points from March when he was at +38 with 62% of voters rating him positively and 24% holding a negative opinion. The drop in King’s popularity has been across the board, but it’s particularly acute with Republicans. He’s gone from 43/38 with them to now 22/65. His declines with independents (from 69/20 to 57/30) and Democrats (from 74/14 to 69/19) have been more modest.

It’s reaching the point where King may need to more explicitly say he’s going to organize as a Democrat if he wants to win this race.

I’ll leave it to others to determine whether the PPP sample is skewed.  Politico is trumpeting another poll which was more favorable to King than PPP’s findings.  Politico views that other poll as meaning King is Still King, but it is the trend that matters.

The trend is against King, particularly as Republican-supporting groups now plan to go heavily against King and for the Democrat:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is airing a second version of its TV ad criticizing King’s financial management as governor, the group announced. The new ad is a slightly different version of its first commercial, which called the independent candidate the “king of mismanagement.”

Maine Freedom, a group led by Republican strategists, is also putting more money into advertising aimed at cutting into King’s lead in the polls, according to new Federal Election Commission spending reports.

The group’s ad, which has been running for weeks, touts the Democratic candidate, Cynthia Dill, in an effort to take Democratic voters away from King.

Republicans would be worth their while to go hard in Maine.