Today Bernie was back in Maine– where he earlier beat Hillary in the primary caucuses 64.3% to 35.5%– vigorously campaigning for her and doing what he can to save the nation from Trump, who, back in caucus time, only won two Maine counties, Knox and Aroostook. Trump was back in Maine Friday– his fifth visit– this time in Lisbon, southeast of Lewiston. Lisbon Street, which goes directly from Lewiston to Lisbon was lined with a motley collection of Trump supporters waving “Make America Great Again” signs. Their leader spoke at the Chrstian Academy Gym. Lisbon, like Lewiston, is in the second congressional district, the more Republican-leaning of Maine's two districts. In Maine that matters since the state's 4 electoral voters are assigned differently than in most states. Two votes go to whomever wins statewide and one vote goes for whomever wins each of the congressional districts. Trump has been hoping he could grab one of the 4 votes by winning in ME-02.
In 2012 Obama won Maine in a landslide– 401,306 (56%) to 292,276 (41%). It was even more of a landslide in ME-01, where Obama won 59-38%. He didn't do badly in ME-02 either. While the more conservative and backward district was electing right-wing crackpot Bruce Poliquin to Congress over hackish conservaDem Emily Cain (47-42%), ME-02 voters gave Obama a healthy 53-44% win over Romney, a nice 9 point margin. Romney did best in Aroonstook way up north and west of Bangor in Penobscot and Piscataquis counties. Today Piscataguis is the heart of Trump country in Maine. where he leads Hillary by 8 points. He's also doing OK in Washington County (+3) and Somerset County (+1) but Aroostook has swung around to Hillary (+5) and so have Bangor, dragging along the rest of Penobscot County, although very narrowly. Hillary is strongest in the three most heavily populated counties that make up Greater Portland– Cumberland (+25%), York (+14%) and Sagadahoc (+12%).
Yesterday, the Maine Sunday Telegram released a poll showing that Trump now appears basically washed up among Maine voters– even in ME-02. In recent weeks Hillary has continued expanding her lead and is now beating him 48-37% statewide, an 11 point margin.
The results also suggest Clinton has surged in the 2nd District, where Trump previously led by double digits. The latest results show Clinton ahead in that district by 43 percent to Trump’s 40 percent. Clinton’s lead is within the poll’s margin of error, but her campaign appears to have made up significant ground since late September, when Trump was leading Clinton in the 2nd District by 15 points.
Andrew Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, said the latest results seem to show a growing cohesion among Democrats that has not been replicated by Republicans. Smith said Clinton’s strengthened support is not surprising in a state that has ultimately settled on the Democratic nominee for six presidential elections in a row.
He said even in Maine’s 2nd District, momentum appears to have swung toward the Democrat, narrowing the chance that Maine, for the first time in modern political history, would split its Electoral College votes. Maine is one of only two states that splits its Electoral College votes, with one vote going to the winner of each congressional district and two votes going to the statewide winner.
Some of Trump’s heavy emphasis on Maine, especially the 2nd District, has been attributed to hopes he might peel off that vote. Smith said he’s plotted possible pathways for a Trump victory that could come down to a single Electoral College vote. But with just nine days to the election, Democratic voters appear to have turned the corner on Trump in Maine.
“It may still be a Republican district, but it’s still going to be impacted by the overall partisan turnout in the state and in this case what we are seeing is the Democrats, as we get closer to the election, have decided they are going to come out and vote,” Smith said.
Democrats consistently outnumber Republicans in Maine. Recent voter registration numbers this year showed Democrats enrolled 16,000 new members compared to just 4,000 new Republicans.
Smith said younger Democratic voters, those who early on were supporting Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, are also now committing to Clinton, under the realization that doing otherwise could result in a Trump presidency.
Trump was last in Maine on Friday, when he appeared at a Christian school in Lisbon, the neighboring town to the 2nd District’s largest city, Lewiston. It was his second visit to Maine this month and followed two other visits by family members.
“Trump’s support has remained kind of flat and it’s Democratic support that we are seeing increasing, which is not surprising– this is a state that’s a Democratic state,” Smith said. “And those younger voters, the Bernie Sanders voters, who didn’t like Clinton so much, they are coming around now.”
…The latest Maine Sunday Telegram poll also suggests that Democrat Emily Cain, a former state senator from Orono, is gaining steam against incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin in the race for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District seat. Like Clinton, Cain has made up the double-digit deficit she faced in September and now appears to be in a dead heat with Poliquin, as 43 percent of voters said they would pick her compared to 42 percent who said they are going with the incumbent.
…Support for both the Green Party’s Jill Stein and the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson also appears to have softened since September, with only 3 percent of voters picking Stein and 5 percent picking Johnson.
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis