McCain Has Opportunity in Maine-2
As I mentioned Friday, I spent the weekend visiting family in Maine. I also had the chance to talk to folks, observe the local media and get a gauge of how the political winds are blowing in the Pine Tree State’s 2nd Congressional District. The region I visited was in the southern part of Maine-2, close to the more liberal/Democratic Maine-1 that surrounds Portland and travels along the coast to August, Maine’s capital. Based on a non-scientific survey of campaign signs, McCain/Palin placards outnumbered Obama/Biden by at least 20 to 1.
More importantly, in talking to people, including some who supported Clinton and Kerry in the past, I got the impression that Obama was simply too much of a blank slate, had too little experience and was too liberal. This view was espoused by both conservatives and independents, including some union members, who indicated that they weren’t alone amongst the rank-in-file in not following the union leadership’s endorsement of Obama. Basically, people don’t trust Obama because of his stated policies and lack of a track record.
As a native of thise region, I’m not surprised that many of its residents don’t support a candidate who seems to put a lot of stock in government “help.” They are independent (and not racists) who fundamentally distrust “big” anything, whether it be business or government.
That being said, others explained that they knew quite a few Mainers who had bought into Obama’s “change.” I was told that one gentleman–a politically astute and intelligent individual–had explained that he didn’t know exactly why he was voting for Obama other than it just seemed like the way to go. Perhaps he didn’t want to get into a debate, though.
Finally, Todd Palin also visited Maine-2 over the weekend and Governor Palin will be visiting this week. For their part, the McCain campaign obviously thinks there may be an opportunity and I agree.
ADDENDUM: In my previous post, commenter “Rhody” theorizes that Mainers will be cold to Palin because they would have preferred McCain picking one of Maine’s Senators, Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins, instead of Palin. Rhody is right in his implication that Maine’s independents are more likely to vote for moderates like Snowe and Collins than a conservative like Palin. However, that appeal to moderates is more important for a statewide office, like Senator, than for a rural congressional district like Maine-2. There are plenty of independents in Maine-2, but they are generally more conservative than moderate. They don’t like any political party! Insofar as Palin is appealing solely to this district, she will find a welcoming audience.