Maine Governor’s Race – 2010 & 2014
Governor LePage’s second election win, each with less than a majority of votes cast, clearly indicates a need for a voting process that more effectively represents all Mainers. While that discussion occurs, what should not be lost are the gains in voter support from LePage’s first term in office to the second.
A recent Portland Press Herald opinion piece “Election’s outcome redefines the ‘two Maines’”
suggested that Mainers view on important issues has become a matter of urban versus rural. Where to make that divide geographically was not clear aside from possibly those members in the Maine Municipal Association.
Therefore a few basic assumptions as to what is urban and what is rural are used for the following analysis. The first is election results by urban and rural counties. It is followed by election results for Cumberland County, where most would agree has the largest “urban” population.
Urban / Rural by County
In 2010 and 2014 the top four counties in votes cast in descending order were Cumberland, York, Penobscot, and Kennebec. Consider these four counties as “urban” and the remaining twelve “rural”. Following are observations with supporting charts.
- The total votes cast in 2010 were 579,925 with 329,215 (56.77%) and 250,710 (43.23%) in the urban and rural counties, respectively. For 2014 total votes cast were 609,963 with 350,063 (57.39%) urban and 259,900 (42.61%) rural. (Chart 1)
- LePage increased his vote count over 2010 by 44,189 (38%) in urban counties and in the rural counties by 32,138 (32%). This equates to a total of 76,327 votes or a 35% combined gain in urban and rural counties. (Chart 2)
- Further, LePage gained votes over 2010 in every county except one, Knox. (Chart 3)
- In 2010 Cumberland and York counties showed significant support for candidates other than LePage, with Penobscot and Kennebec to a lesser degree. (Chart 4)
- However, in 2014 LePage gained in York and Kennebec, and went ahead in Penobscot. Only Cumberland continued to remain relatively strong against LePage. (Chart 5)
Cumberland County by Urban / Rural
In looking at Cumberland County I included Portland, South Portland, Scarborough, Westbrook, and Brunswick as urban and the remaining towns as rural. The first four locations were because of proximity to each other and total population; with Brunswick because of its population size.
The following chart shows the following.
- In 2010 and 2014 votes for LePage’s opponents in urban areas were 47,280 and 48,244 – a slight increase. Whereas with LePage his numbers for the two elections in those same locations were 16,026 and 22,518 – an increase of 6,492 votes (40.5%).
- In 2010 and 2014 votes for LePage’s opponents in rural areas were 42,157 and 36,795 – a decrease of 8,632 votes (19.8%). For LePage his numbers for the two elections in those same locations were 22,958 and 33,702 – an increase of 10,744 votes (46.8%).
Opponents to LePage in Cumberland County maintained a strong presence in the urban areas during both elections. However, LePage did make noticeable aggregate gains in those urban communities and nearly overtook the combined votes of Michaud and Cutler in the rural areas.
In this example it could be said that there remains strong opposition to LePage in Cumberland County’s urban areas. However, an increasing amount of support did occur for LePage in the most recent election both in urban and rural Cumberland, as well as the remainder of Maine.