United States presidential election in Maine, 2008

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United States presidential election in Maine, 2008
← 2004 November 4, 2008 2012 →
  Obama portrait crop.jpg John McCain official portrait with alternative background.jpg
Nominee Barack Obama John McCain
Party Democratic Republican
Home state Illinois Arizona
Running mate Joe Biden Sarah Palin
Electoral vote 4 0
Popular vote 421,923 295,273
Percentage 57.71% 40.38%

Maine presidential election results 2008.svg
County Results

President before election

George W. Bush

Elected President

Barack Obama

The 2008 United States presidential election in Maine took place on November 4, 2008 throughout all 50 states and D.C., which was part of the 2008 United States presidential election. Maine is one of two states in the U.S. that instead of all of the state's 4 electors of the Electoral College to vote based upon the statewide results of the voters, two of the individual electors vote based on their congressional district because Maine has two congressional districts. The other two electors vote based upon the statewide results. See below in the section of Electors for more information.

Maine once again displayed it status as a blue state, with Democrat Barack Obama taking the state with 57.71% of the vote and a difference of 126,650 votes. Maine has voted Democratic since 1992 and is the only state other than Nebraska to split its electoral votes, though it did not do so until 2016. It is also the only state in New England where a county voted for Republican John McCain, with Piscataquis County giving McCain roughly 50.7% of the vote.




Obama won every single pre-election poll. The final 3 polls averaged Obama leading 55% to 39%.[1]


John McCain raised a total of $465,676 in the state, while Barack Obama raised $2,205,059.[2]

Advertising and visits[edit]

Obama spent $1,216,060 while McCain and the RNC spent $444,529.[3] The Obama ticket didn't visit the state, but both McCain and Palin visited Maine once.[4]


Maine is located in New England, an area that has become a hotbed for the Democratic Party. It was once a classic Yankee Republican state. It identified with the newly formed GOP in 1856 and stayed in the GOP fold for most of the next 132 years. The GOP carried the state in all but three elections from 1856 to 1988. Additionally, Maine and Vermont were the only two states that voted against Franklin D. Roosevelt in all four of his campaigns. However, no Republican presidential nominee has carried Maine since George H.W. Bush in 1988, leading many analysts to reckon the state as part of the solid bloc of blue states in the Northeast. While George W. Bush seriously contested the state in 2000 and 2004, polls in 2008 never showed anything but a significant Obama lead.

Ultimately, Obama won the state by a comfortable margin, taking 57.71 percent of the vote--the largest winning margin by a Democrat in Maine since Lyndon Johnson carried it as part of his 44-state landslide in 1964. As evidence of how Democratic Maine has become, George W. Bush is the only Republican to win the White House without carrying Maine. At the same time, however, incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Susan Collins defeated former Democratic U.S. Representative Tom Allen and won reelection to a third term with 61.33 percent of the vote. Maine was the only state carried by Obama to elect a Republican to the U.S. Senate in 2008.

The seat in Maine's 1st Congressional District that was vacated by Tom Allen in his unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate was retained by Democrat Chellie Pingree. At the state level, Democrats made gains in the Maine Legislature, picking up six seats in the Maine House of Representatives and one seat in the Maine Senate.



United States presidential election in Maine, 2008
Party Candidate Running mate Votes Percentage Electoral votes
Democratic Barack Obama Joe Biden 421,923 57.71% 4
Republican John McCain Sarah Palin 295,273 40.38% 0
Independent Ralph Nader Matt Gonzalez 10,636 1.45% 0
Green Cynthia McKinney Rosa Clemente 2,900 0.40% 0
Libertarian Bob Barr (write-in) Wayne Allyn Root (write-in) 251 0.03% 0
Constitution Chuck Baldwin (write-in) Darrell Castle (write-in) 177 0.02% 0
Totals 731,163 100.00% 4
Voter turnout  %

Congressional District[edit]

Barack Obama swept both of Maine’s two congressional districts.

District McCain Obama Representative
1st 37.69% 60.51% Tom Allen (110th Congress)
Chellie Pingree (111th Congress)
2nd 43.35% 54.61% Michael Michaud


Technically the voters of Maine cast their ballots for electors: representatives to the Electoral College. Maine is allocated 4 electors because it has 2 congressional districts and 2 senators. All candidates who appear on the ballot or qualify to receive write-in votes must submit a list of 4 electors, who pledge to vote for their candidate and his or her running mate. Whoever wins the majority of votes in the state is awarded just 2 of the electoral votes. The other 2 electoral votes are based upon the congressional district results. Their chosen electors then vote for President and Vice President. Although electors are pledged to their candidate and running mate, they are not obligated to vote for them.[5] An elector who votes for someone other than his or her candidate is known as a faithless elector.

The electors of each state and the District of Columbia met on December 15, 2008 to cast their votes for President and Vice President. The Electoral College itself never meets as one body. Instead the electors from each state and the District of Columbia met in their respective capitols.

The following were the members of the Electoral College from the state. Since Obama won both congressional districts, all 4 were pledged to Barack Obama and Joe Biden:[6]

  • Robert O'Brien of Portland, ME. He works in a hardware store and has been active with the Democratic Party since 1984.[7]
  • Jill Duson, of Portland, ME. She's a third term city councilor and a former mayor.[8]
  • Samuel Shapiro of Waterville, ME. He's been a party activist since 1953 and is a former state treasurer.[9]
  • Tracie Reed of Portland, ME. She's a master's candidate in the University of Massachusetts Amherst's architecture program and a political organizer.[10]