Maine Trend Analysis

The latest Survey USA Maine Poll shows a significant gap in support for George W. Bush and John Kerry between Maine’s two congressional districts: Kerry +4 in ME1, Bush +5 in ME2, a nine point gap (caveat – the poll lists “Northern Maine and “Southern Maine” and it is unknown how well these line up with actual congressional district boundaries). The previous entry showed that in 2000, the difference between the results for Gore and Bush in the current districts is 4.4 percentage points.

The table below shows the trend data for the election results from 1980 through 2000 in the current districts:

Year ME-D CD1-D CD2-D ME-R CD1-R CD2-R
1980 42.3% 41.9% 42.6% 45.6% 45.0% 46.2%
1984 38.8% 39.7% 37.9% 60.8% 59.9% 61.7%
1988 43.9% 42.9% 44.9% 55.3% 56.3% 54.3%
1992 38.8% 39.8% 37.8% 30.4% 32.3% 28.5%
1996 51.6% 51.7% 51.5% 30.8% 32.2% 29.3%
2000 49.1% 50.2% 47.9% 44.0% 42.9% 45.1%

The next table shows the difference between each congressional district and the statewide total by year:

Year CD1-D CD2-D CD1-R CD2-R
1980 -0.3% 0.3% -0.6% 0.5%
1984 0.9% -0.9% -0.9% 0.9%
1988 -1.0% 1.0% 1.0% -1.0%
1992 1.0% -1.0% 1.9% -1.9%
1996 0.1% -0.1% 1.4% -1.4%
1996 1.1% -1.1% -1.0% 1.1%

The trend graphs for each district are shown below:

Maine Trend Graph: Congressional District 1 vs. Statewide
CD1 Graph

Maine Trend Graph: Congressional District 2 vs. Statewide
CD2 Graph

Although its difficult to conclude any solid trend in Maine from these graphs (the strength of Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996 and Nader in 2000 certainly masks some of the Republican/Democratic trends), there does appear to be a slight trend in voting behavior over the last decade – increasing the difference between Republican and Democratic voters between the two districts (CD2 becoming more Republican and CD1 more Democratic). While I don’t believe it to be nine percentage points as the SurveyUSA poll suggests, I think it bears watching and could result in a split Electoral Vote allocation if the statewide result is close.

5 thoughts on “Maine Trend Analysis

  1. Dave Leip

    The results for CD1 vs. CD2 for each party should be approximately the opposite of one-another if the number of voters casting ballots in the two districts are close. What I find interesting is the flip-flop between 1984 and 1988.

  2. Kevin Lamoreau


    I like how much attention you are paying to Maine and to the possibility that my state will split it’s electoral votes. One thing I wanted to ask you, though, is this: does the data shown in this thread reflect results in the contemporary congressional districts (with a different split in Kennebec County in 1996 and 2000, with all of Kennebec County and part of Waldo County in the 1st district in 1984, 1988 and 1992, and with all of Kennebec County plus all of Waldo County in the 1st district in 1980), or the results in those elections from the collections of towns which will elect the same congressman (and district presidential elector) in the coming election. I think it would be better if the latter were true. I imagine a noticably larger number of votes were cast in the incoming 2nd district in that election than the incoming 1st district since that district consists of territory which then comprised roughly half the states population plus large portions of Waldo County and the Waterville area. If your data uses the incoming congressional districts, the percentage figures from the 1st district in 1980 should be a little bit further from the 0.00% line of the chart than the same figures for the second district in the same year, since larger percenatage variations would be necessary to ballance a smaller number of votes cast in the district. Your graphs do show a minute differnence in that direction in 1980, but I’m not sure if it’s large enough and the 1984 and 1988 figures go the other way. So I can’t tell whether you are using the contemporary congressional districts or the current ones. There would likely not be a significant differnence in the data, but using the incoming districts for all elections would give a more accurate picture of the voting trends. It may be too difficult to make a change but I just thought I’d add my two cents.

  3. Kevin Lamoreau

    Oh yeah, I think the flip from 1984 to 1988 has to do with a Republican President who so many Democrats in places like Maine’s second district supported that they were named after him being replaced on the ballot by someone who used expressions like “deep doo doo”, not to mention the fact that the latter had a summer home in the 1st district but far away from the second both geographically (in Maine terms) and democraphically.

  4. Dave Leip

    Hi Kevin – The data is compiled for the incoming congressional district boundaries. I have the township data for all of Maine back to 1980. In 1980, the difference in total vote cast between the incoming congressional district boundaries was about 20,000 votes (more in CD2 than CD1). Interestingly, in 2000, it was about 20,000 votes more in CD1 than in CD2. In 1996, about 2,800 more votes more from CD1 than CD2. In 1992, CD2 outvoted CD1 by 6,400 votes.

    In 1980, the ~20,000 vote difference is approximately 4% of the total votes cast. With only a 0.7% deviation for Carter between CD1 & 2, you get a 0.03% deviation in the deltas. The Reagan difference was slightly higher, 1.2%, for a deviation of 0.05%.

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