Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election


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The Final Two Weeks: Maine CD2 Making News

Mitt Romney spoke earlier this year in Nebraska, the only other state that can split its electoral votes. Journal Star file photo.

With the November 6th election drawing closer, voters have been given a lot to think about. The 3 presidential debates have had a significant effect on voter attitudes and perhaps the overall outcome of the election, and with just two weeks left in their campaigns, President Obama and Governor Romney both need every vote they can get.

In Maine, the historic pattern of voting Democrat statewide and in the first congressional district is unlikely to waver this year, however Republicans may still have a chance to clinch the second congressional district. In this final stretch of the campaign, Romney supporters will try to split the state’s vote and gain that of Maine’s CD2 – an unprecedented accompishment for either party.

On Monday, pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future sent an email to supporters expressing the importance of gaining any votes possible, listing Maine’s CD2 among target areas. ROF plans to air $300,000 worth of ads in the key regions of Maine later this week and into next week. With just one vote up for grabs, however, the question is raised: Can this surge of effort make a difference, or is it too little too late? Continue reading

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Maine: Like Ohio, Just Different

A post on Monday in Mike Tipping’s blog about Maine politics for the Bangor Daily News‘ described Maine as “just like Ohio, except with more trees and fewer electoral votes.” This comparison may have something to it.

In the midst of early voting in Iowa and Ohio and Pennsylvania’s changed status on voter IDs, Maine might not seem like a state to focus on. However, Maine’s second congressional district may be more pivotal to the results of the general election than its size and number of electoral votes would suggest.

The latest polls on the status of the presidential election in the Pine Tree State show that over 50% of Mainers favor Obama in general, think he will do a better job with health care policy, and trust him more on international affairs. In CD2 alone, 46% favor Obama over Romney.

Despite these Obama-favoring numbers, Romney is putting some effort into swaying Maine’s CD2, as he should. Nate Silver ranks CD2 the 14th most likely tipping point state, and Tipping argues that this district alone should be considered between Ohio and Wisconsin for competitiveness in the race. Continue reading


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The Lowdown on Splitting the Vote

When reading about the status of our 50 states this election season, you might experience a “one of these things is not like the other” moment. Rather, two of these things. Instead of having to cast all their votes to one candidate, Maine and Nebraska have the ability to split their electoral votes among candidates. Here’s what happens:

Called the “Congressional District Method”, the way these two states go about distributing their votes involves, you guessed it, their congressional districts (Maine has two, Nebraska has three). Two votes in each state go to the overall popular vote winner, while one each of the others go to the popular vote winner of each congressional district.

While Maine has been on this system for 40 years, it has never split its votes. Nebraska, using this method since 1996, only used their vote-splitting power for the first time in 2008 when Barack Obama took one of its votes from John McCain. While Maine has given all four of its vote to the Democratic candidate for the past five elections, Mitt Romney will attempt to do there what Obama did in Nebraska four years ago.

Opinions differ on whether this system is a good one to hold onto. Some have proposed it be the way the entire country is run, while others disagree with the method as a violation of the concept of “one person, one vote”.

Read more about nationwide debate regarding the elecoral college: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57518599/debate-over-the-electoral-college-revived-again/


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Angus King: Too Independent for Maine Senate?

Angus King

King mixes it up in the Maine Senate race. AP photo

In Maine, the Senate race is heating up. For a while, Former Governor Angus King was a clear front runner. King is running as an Independent candidate and was so popular early on that current Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree put a halt to her efforts to replace Olympia Snow in the Senate.

King’s prospects began to change, however, when he announced to voters that he does not plan to caucus with either party. Jason Linkins described King in a Huffington Post article as “a bog-standard center-lefty Dem,” and this perception is beginning to present King with roadblocks in his campaign. King’s ideas on health care and tax cuts leave no doubt as to which way he leans, yet he still makes it clear that he does not intend to pick a side anytime soon.

Other candidates are using King’s odd stance on caucusing as an advantage in the six-way race. According to Public Policy Polling, King is “winning only 13% of the Republican vote at this point, but he’s losing 26% of the Democratic vote to Dill,” and the GOP is wasting no time putting out ads against King to reduce that 13%. Continue reading


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Countdown to the Maine Event: 50 Days

Fifty days away from the 2012 presidential election, who will be the eventual winner of Maine’s four electoral votes? There are a few key factors to consider:

The first thing to understand about Maine’s presence in the Electoral College is that it splits its four electoral votes. Two go to the winner of the popular vote, and one each of the remaining two votes go to the popular vote winner in each Congressional district. So, while Maine may seem to be leaning pretty strongly to the left at this point, anything could happen with single votes up for grabs. Romney hopes to get at least one vote from the Pine Tree State this year.

Let’s take a look at the recent political state of affairs in Maine. In the past five presidential elections, Democrats have won here. Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud, both Democrats, currently hold the state’s seats in the House of Representatives. What’s really getting interesting is the race for the Senate where Independent candidate and former Maine governor Angus King is way ahead of the Democratic and Republican candidates in the polls. Continue reading