27 November 2011

Rank 12 / 40: Maine


Results of the last 6 presidential cycles:

Winning %
% Margin
Part. Value
National Swing
12 / 40
10 / 42
15 / 37
07 / 45
18 / 34
26 / 26

blue shading = DEM pick-up
Maine margin average, 1988-2008 (6 cycles): DEM +8.20%


ME county-by-county EXCEL spreadsheet
(raw totals for 2008 and 2004, margins, swings, % of state PV, county growth rate)

The partisan rankings for Ranking 12 (Maine) from 2008 backwards in history to 1964 in Table-format (highlighted in yellow):

Rank2008Margin '082004Margin - 042000Margin '001996Margin '961992Margin '921988Margin '88Rank1984Margin '841980Margin '801976Margin '761972Margin '721968Margin '681964Margin '64
01 – 51DC85,92%DC79,84%DC76,20%DC75,85%DC75,55%DC68,34%01 – 51DC71,66%DC61,49%DC65,12%DC56,54%DC63,64%DC71,00%
02 – 50HI45,26%MA25,16%RI29,08%MA33,39%MA18,52%RI11,71%02 – 50MN0,18%GA14,81%GA33,78%MA8,97%RI32,25%RI61,74%
03 – 49VT37,01%RI20,75%MA27,30%RI32,89%RI18,02%IA10,22%03 – 49MA2,79%RI10,47%AR30,01%MN5,51%MA30,12%HI57,52%
04 – 48RI27,81%VT20,14%NY24,98%NY28,86%AR17,72%HI9,52%04 – 48RI3,65%WV4,51%WV16,14%RI6,19%HI21,12%MA52,74%
05 – 47NY26,86%NY18,29%HI18,33%HI25,29%NY15,85%MA7,85%05 – 47MD5,49%MN3,94%MA15,67%SD8,63%MN12,53%ME37,68%
06 – 46MA25,81%MD12,98%CT17,47%VT22,26%VT15,70%MN7,02%06 – 46PA7,35%MD2,96%AL13,11%WI9,67%ME12,23%NY37,25%
07 – 45MD25,44%CT10,37%MD16,39%ME20,86%IL14,24%WV4,74%07 – 45IA7,39%HI1,90%SC13,04%OR10,12%MS40.44%WV35,87%
08 – 44IL25,11%IL10,34%NJ15,83%CT18,14%MD14,18%OR4,67%08 – 44NY8,01%MA0,15%TN13,00%CA13,46%WV8,82%CT35,72%
09 – 43DE24,98%CA9,95%DE13,06%NJ17,86%CA13,39%NY4,10%09 – 43WI9,18%TN0,29%MN12,87%MI14,39%MI6,73%MI33,61%
10 – 42CA24,03%ME9,00%IL12,01%IL17,51%WV13,02%WI3,62%10 – 42WV10,51%AR0,61%RI11,28%IA17,13%NY5,46%VT32,61%
11 – 41CT22,37%HI8,74%CA11,80%AR16,94%MN11,63%WA1,59%11 – 41HI11,28%AL1,30%NC11,05%NY17,34%CT5,16%AK31,82%
12 – 40ME17,32%DE7,59%VT9,94%MN16,14%WA11,44%IL2,08%12 – 40OR12,17%MS1,32%KY7,19%WA18,28%LA20.11%NJ31,75%
13 - 39WA17,08%WA7,18%WA5,58%MD15,99%HI11,40%PA2,32%13 - 39IL12,88%KY1,46%MD6,07%CT18,44%AL47.13%MD30,94%
14 - 38MI16,44%NJ6,68%MI5,13%DE15,25%MO10,15%MD2,91%14 - 38WA12,97%SC1,53%LA5,78%IL18,52%PA3,57%PA30,22%
15 - 37OR16,35%OR4,16%ME5,11%WV14,75%OR9,95%VT3,52%15 - 37CA16,25%NC2,12%DE5,41%PA19,98%WA2,11%KY28,36%
16 - 36NJ15,53%MN3,48%PA4,17%MI13,21%PA9,02%CA3,57%16 - 36TN16,27%DE2,33%FL5,28%MT20,08%MD1,64%MO28,10%
17 - 35NM15,13%MI3,42%MN2,40%CA12,89%NM8,56%MO3,98%17 - 35VT17,11%NY2,67%NY4,43%DE20,41%TX1,27%MN27,76%
18 - 34WI13,90%PA2,50%OR0,44%WA12,54%ME8,33%NM4,96%18 - 34OH18,76%ME3,36%MO3,63%OH21,56%AR7.64%OR27,75%
19 - 33NV12,49%NH1,37%IA0,31%LA12,07%DE8,20%CT5,10%19 - 33MI18,99%WI4,72%TX3,17%ME22,98%MO1,13%NH27,28%
20 - 32PA10,31%WI0,38%WI0,22%IA10,34%MI7,40%MT5,87%20 - 32DE19,85%LA5,45%PA2,66%AK23,51%NJ2,13%TX26,82%
21 - 31MN10,24%IA0,67%NM0,06%WI10,33%CT6,43%SD6,34%21 - 31MO20,05%VT5,96%HI2,53%MD23,90%OH2,28%OH25,89%
22 -30NH9,61%NM0,79%FL0,01%NH9,95%IA6,01%CO7,78%22 -30GA20,39%MI6,49%MS1,88%NM24,49%AK2,64%WA24,59%
23 - 29IA9,53%OH2,11%NH1,27%PA9,20%TN4,65%MI7,90%23 - 29NM20,48%MO6,81%WI1,68%MO24,59%IL2,92%WI24,35%
24 - 28CO8,95%NV2,59%MO3,34%OR8,09%LA4,61%LA10,21%24 - 28KY20,66%PA7,11%OH0,27%NJ24,80%CA3,08%IA23,97%
25 - 27VA6,30%CO4,67%OH3,51%NM7,33%WI4,35%OH10,85%25 - 27NJ20,89%IL7,93%OR0,17%HI24,96%DE3,51%CO23,07%
26 - 26OH4,58%FL5,01%NV3,55%OH6,36%CO4,26%ME11,45%26 - 26CT21,90%CT9,63%ME0,84%VT26,20%WI3,62%DE22,17%
27 - 25FL2,81%MO7,20%TN3,86%MO6,30%KY3,21%KY11,64%27 - 25ME22,05%OR9,66%IA1,01%ND26,28%GA12.43%NM18,98%


Helpful Info Links Helpful Election Links
ME county-by-county EXCEL spreadsheet 
ME Population 2008: 1,316,456 ME Election results - (1990-present)
ME Population Density: 16.5 persons per sq Km.
Electoral Vote Density: 329,114 persons per EV. ---

ME Electoral Development (electors through history): 9 (1820-1828), 10 (1832-1840), 9 (1844-1848), 8 (1852-1860), 7 (1864-1880), 6 (1884-1928), 5 (1932-1960), 4 EV (1964-present).

Maine is the 12th most liberal state and the 40th most conservative state, with a Democratic winning margin of +17.32% and having voted 10.06% more Democratic than the national margin in 2008. 

Maine was the 10th most liberal state and the 42nd most conservative state in 2004, with a Democratic winning margin of +9.00% and having voted 11.46% more Democratic than the national margin in that year.

Maine was the 15th most liberal state and the 37th most conservative state in 2000, with a Democratic winning margin of +5.11% and having voted 4.59% more Democratic than the national margin in that year.

From 1904-2008, Maine went for the GOP 19 times, for the DEMS 8 times.
Since1948 Maine went for the GOP 9 times, for the DEMS 7 times.


Maine was, as of the Civil War, a staunch Republican state and went for 104 years between 1860-1964 every time but once (1912: Wilson +2.02% margin) for the Republicans, making for 26 of 27 cycles. This makes Maine the state with the second longest consistent GOP voting record, behind nearby Vermont, which was 27 for 27 in the same time period. ME was one of the only two states in the Union to completely resist all four Roosevelt landslides from 1932-1944 (again, paired with VT). In this time period of 27 cycles, only four GOP wins were single-digit wins:

1880: Garfield +6.14% margin
1916: Hughes +4.02% margin
1940: Wilkie +2.33% margin
1944: Dewey +4.99% margin

The other 22 cycles were double-digit GOP wins and eight of them are real superlatives:

1860: Lincoln, 62.24% of the PV, +32.82% margin (ME was Lincoln's 4 th strongest state, after VT, PA and MA)
1872: Grant, 67.86% of the PV, +35.71% margin
1896: McKinley, 67.90% of the PV, +38.69% margin
1920: Harding, 68.92% of the PV, +39.12% margin
1924: Coolidge, 72.03% of the PV, +50.20% margin (still the state record-setter to date)
1928: Hoover, 68.63% of the PV, +37.66% margin
1952: Eisenhower, 66.05% of the PV, +32.28% margin
1956: Eisenhower, 70.87% of the PV, +41.73% margin

One fascinating statistic about ME and FDR: whereas most GOP states that only went for 1, 2 or 3 of 4 cycles for FDR usually gave him leaner and leaner margins after 1936 or the GOP began to win those states back with ever increasing margins, ME gave the GOP leaner margins after 1936:

FDR election 1, Maine: 1932: Hoover +12.64% (Roosevelt won nationally with +17.76%, so ME shifted 30.40% against the stream in 1932)

FDR election 2, Maine: 1936: Landon +13.97% (Roosevelt won nationall with +24.25%, so ME shifted 38.22% against the stream in 1936, which was FDR's biggest landslide) ME was one of only 15 states to both swing and trend for the GOP in 1936 - the other 33 states went the other way, but ME was the only state in that year to both swing and trend GOP and actually be won by a GOP candidate. Alf Landon captured only ME and VT in 1936, but VT swung Democratic that year.

FDR election 3, Maine: 1940: Willkie +2.33%. FDR's 48.77% of the PV in that year was the highest percentage any Democrat had achieved up to that time in history! In 1940, ME swung +11.64% to the Democratic Party and had a massive +25.94 trend value toward the Democrats. But 1940 was the year where FDR won his third term with a DRASTICALLY reduced national margin ("only" +9.95% margin, -14.30% over 1936) and the GOP added 8 more states back to its electoral column over 1936.

In many ways, 1940 compared to 1936 for the GOP looks a lot like 1988 compared to 1984 for the Democratic party: the DEMS won only two "states" in 1984 (DC, MN) and then added 9 more back to their column in 1988.

FDR election 4, Maine: 1944: Dewey +4.99%.

I have spent the better part of a month researching WHY this narrow margin in such an unbelievably core GOP state happened in 1940 and have no firm answer to date. But it is to be noted that Thomas Dewey, the GOP candidate from both 1944 and 1948, was also in the running in 1940 - and Willkie was a dark-horse candidate who was nominated on the 6th ballot at the GOP National Convention in Philadelphia, PA from June 24-28, 1940. Even more astounding, Willkie was a DEMOCRATIC pro-Roosevelt delegate to the DEM national convention in 1932 and who just switched party alliances to the GOP in 1939!!!! At the convention in 1940, on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd ballots, Dewey had the plurality of delegates but not a majority. He got all of ME's delegates each time, all the way to the bitter end. So, it is possible, I think, that ME turned its back on Willkie in 1940 because it really, really wanted Dewey. In this way I can see a parallel to the state of AR in 2008, which was obviously Hilary Clinton territory in the primaries and then went decidedly against Obama in the GE of 2008.

BTW, the 1940 GOP convention in -and -of itself should the stuff of a great "whodunit" novel: there have been theories going around for years that british agents infiltrated the GOP and planted Willkie as their "wished-for" candidate in the hopes that he would lose to FDR, for the brits wanted the USA to enter WWII as quickly as possible and the GOP had a totally isolationistic position on the war in Europe. There are also parallels to be drawn between Thomas Dewey and Mitt Romney: Dewey lost his first attempt at the nomination in 1940 and came back to win the nomination in 1944, and if current trends hold, then Mitt Romney will do the same in 2012.

From 1948 through 1960, ME was an easy win for the GOP:

1948: Dewey +14.47% margin
1952: Eisenhower +32.28% margin
1956: Eisenhower +41.73% margin
1960: Nixon +14.10% margin

And then the change in ME began to take form: it went for Johnson (D) in 1964 with a +37.68% landslide margin and also for Humphrey in 1968 (also a landslide margin: +12.23%). Not only that, it was a clean 2-way win for Humphrey in 1968 in the middle of a 3-way race nationally: George Wallace (Ind) was not on the ballot in ME. 1968 was the first time in ME's history that a Republican won the national election but lost ME.

Nixon won ME in 1972 with +22.98%, almost identical to his +23.15% national margin. As impressive as this sounds, this was to-date the leanest GOP re-election margin since Lincoln 1864! Grant, McKinley and Eisenhower all did better by their re-elections.

The state almost went for Carter in 1976 (Ford+0.84%), which was an enormous shock to the GOP in that year. It also only went to Reagan by a narrow +3.36% margin in 1980, which then bloomed to a massive +22.05% margin in his historic 1984 landslide re-election. In spite of the fact that George W. Bush, Sr. had a residence in Kennebunkport, ME, his margin in the state was halved: +11.45%

Since 1992, this state has voted reliably Democratic and with ever increasing margins, with a winning average of +8.20% over 6 cycles, including 1988, putting it into the “solid” DEM state column. ME also has a very independent vein and gave Ross Perot his highest percentage in 1992, placing him 2nd, in front of Republican incumbent George W. Bush, Sr. It has been claimed that Perot spoiled the race for Bush Sr. In Maine in 1992, but in 1996 Clinton increased his percentage by 11% and the GOP did nominally (-0.37%) worse than in 1992. Kerry increased over Gore’s margin in this state, showing the trend as definitely „blue“. Obama once again increased over Kerry's percentage and margin and and though his margin is not quite as large as Clinton's from 1996, his winning percentage is the best overall showing for the Democrats in this state since 1964. Obama carried every county in ME except Piscataquis County, which accounted for only 1.29% of the statewide popular vote in that year.

Important note: Maine (along with Nebraska) does elector splitting. For the first time in history, Obama picked up Nebraska-02 in 2008. In the event of a close election in 2012, it is very conceivable that this time around, the GOP could make a serious play for Maine-02.

ME - Superlatives
Winning %
% margin
Highest % in 1992

All-time “squeaker”

In Maine, the Governor, Lt. Governor and both Senators are Republicans. The 2 US House Representatives are Democrats. In the 
Maine Legislature, there is a strong Republican majority in the State Senate and a lean Republican majority in the State House. The two Senators from ME are considered two of the most „liberal“ Republicans left in the US Senate (Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins) and their votes in the Senate have been critical „swing votes“ on a number of issues since 2009.

Maine is a solid Democratic state at the presidential level, but could become competitive in 2012, depending on the GOP nominee.

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