A lot of the Maine cities that flipped to President Donald Trump in 2016 stayed with the Republican incumbent this yr, suggesting a continued political realignment whilst President-elect Joe Biden, a Democrat, carried out effectively right here and nationally.
The political divide on the presidential degree has grown as a smattering of small cities in northern and japanese Maine — together with some that had been Democratic strongholds only a decade in the past — have trended conservative whereas coastal areas have change into extra liberal. Inland cities in central and southern Maine usually stay a battleground.
The motion just isn’t fully distinctive to the outgoing Republican president — Maine’s two congressional districts have been shifting additional aside in presidential elections for the reason that 1990s. However this yr noticed the widest hole between the 2 since Maine started splitting its electoral votes in 1972. With a number of notable exceptions, the shift on the presidential degree was mirrored in down-ballot races, suggesting the partisan development may persist after Trump’s presidency.
Trump misplaced floor in Maine relative to 4 years in the past, together with his margin within the 2nd Congressional District narrowing by three proportion factors in 2020. However the outcomes weren’t uniform — the Republican president improved margins in additional than 170 cities, in keeping with unofficial outcomes. Of the nearly 200 cities and towns that favored Trump in 2016 after backing former President Barack Obama 4 years earlier, the president gained at the very least 85 % a second time.
Trump’s improved efficiency over the previous 4 years got here virtually solely in small inland cities, with Presque Isle the biggest metropolis to shift proper. Obama gained it by eight proportion factors in 2012, however Trump gained it by 7 factors in 2016 and elevated his margin once more this yr.
The ancestrally Democratic St. John Valley additionally moved additional towards Trump, together with Madawaska, which Obama gained by 48 factors in 2012. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton gained by solely 15 factors 4 years in the past, and Biden took it by simply 9.6 factors.
Trump’s positive factors in rural elements of Maine match with patterns seen throughout the nation, stated Jim Melcher, a political science professor on the College of Maine at Farmington.
“Donald Trump did comparatively effectively in these locations the place he did effectively 4 years in the past,” Melcher stated. “The place he misplaced votes usually did are usually extra suburban and concrete areas.”
Though Trump’s margin of victory within the 2nd District this yr was smaller than in 2016, Biden’s positive factors within the district got here largely from Democratic-leaning cities and cities. The previous vice chairman outperformed Clinton by double digits in Orono and Belfast whereas flipping Auburn, an traditionally Democratic metropolis that Trump gained by simply 29 votes 4 years in the past.
Biden noticed comparable positive factors in southern Maine, together with coastal cities and the rich Portland suburbs. For instance, Obama gained the city of Falmouth by 11 proportion factors in 2012. It favored Clinton by 27 factors 4 years in the past and Biden by 38 factors this yr.
The shifts within the presidential contest had been mirrored in most, however not all, down-ballot races. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, won decisively, outperforming Trump throughout the state, although she fell in need of profitable all 16 counties as she did in 2014, along with her Democratic challenger Sara Gideon taking Knox and Cumberland counties, two Democratic-leaning coastal counties.
U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat from the 2nd District, was re-elected by a stable margin, outperforming Biden in all however two of the district’s greater than 330 cities. Greater than 70 cities went for each Golden and Trump. In Rumford, a former Democratic stronghold that Obama gained by 28 factors in 2012, Trump gained by eight proportion factors whereas Golden gained by practically 11 — a stable margin however effectively in need of the type of victory that Democrats used to rack up within the city.
All however three of Maine’s 35 state Senate districts noticed their state-level races gained by the identical celebration that gained the presidential race in that district. Two of these races — the seats held by Sens. Ned Claxton, D-Auburn, and Scott Cyrway, R-Benton — had presidential races determined by lower than 2 proportion factors.
The one district to see a big deviation was the Aroostook County district represented by Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash. The incumbent Democrat gained reelection simply regardless of Trump additionally profitable his district by 11 factors. The opposite senate district within the County flipped again to a Republican for the primary time since 2014. Trump gained that district by 26 factors.