DATE: 9/14/2004 09:05:00 AM
Tied? - John Zogby says Bush and Kerry are tied at 43 percent each in my home state. The poll was taken last Thursday, before John Kerry's comments regarding the end of the assault weapons ban. Maine is a state where hunting is a near-sacred activity, and people here love their guns. It's relatively easy to get a weapon here - they sell them in at least half a dozen places in the Bangor area alone.
Maine is one of two states (Nebraska being the other) that splits its electoral votes. The winner of the popular vote in the state gets the two statewide electoral votes. The congressional district votes are apportioned to whomever wins a particular district. Maine has two. Kerry will win district one, which is basically Portland. District two is up for grabs, I think. Aroostook County (or "the County" as it's known up here) is somewhat more conservative and Gore barely won it in 2000. The gun issue could make a huge difference this year, as well as the fact that Kerry is from Massachusetts.
People in Central and Northern Maine like to joke that the "real Maine" ends at Augusta, with Southern Maine being a suburb of Boston. The intrusive liberalism of Massachusetts residents is not forgotten in the county, as out-of-staters have been trying for years to make a large portion of it a national park, a move resented by natives. I predict that Bush will get one electoral vote from Maine - the second district. Kerry will win the state, but only barely, which will net him the other three.
Kerry has done a lot of foolish things this election, but it's his comments on the end of the assault weapons ban that may cost him the presidency. That, and his inept pandering to gun owners. I don't own any guns myself (unless you count a paintball gun...er...marker) but I know how important second amendment issues are to rural voters. I have a feeling Kerry will figure that out around November 3.