When I read Michael Barone’s latest post on the opportunity McCain and Palin have in the Frozen North, that tier of states from Wisconsin to Washington State (and Alaska), one passage (related to another northern state) struck me as it reminded me of one my crazy theories about this election. Â First, the passage:
. . .there’s a tantalizing poll in another state that could be called part of the Frozen North:Â Maine. Scott Rasmussen has Obama up by only 4 percent, compared with 14 percent and 8 percent in his August and July polls there. But Research 2000, polling in September has Obama leading by 14 percent, exactly the same number as the average of seven preconvention polls from April through August.
And now the theory. As you may know, two states, Maine and Nebraska, allocate their electoral votes differently from most states. In these two states, each candidate gets one elector for each congressional district he wins, two for winning the state.
Maine, as Barone writes in his Almanac of American Politics, is “contrary-minded.” It handed Ross Perot his largest percentage of the vote in both 1992 and 1996. In ’92, Perot actually edged out the incumbent president of the United States (who maintained a vacation home in the state) by just over 300 votes.
Perot even won three counties, Piscataquis, Somerset and Waldo. All three counties are in the state’s Second Congressional District. George W. Bush lost the district by fewer than 10,000 votes in 2000 and by about 20,000 four years later.
Given the contrary-nature of the state and the appeal of Sarah Palin to rural voters in the Frozen North, it’s entirely possible the McCain-Palin ticket could carry Maine’s Second District. (And heck, the state seems to like Republican women, electing two of them to the U.S. Senate.) Â The Republicans may not win the state, but they will win one electoral vote which could help in a tight race.
It just might be a good idea to dispatch Sarah Palin to Bangor.
Oh, and they do have moose in Maine, with moose-hunting permitted this week and from October 13 through 18.