Maine State Senate Results by the Numbers
During the recent election, the Democrats increased their seats in the Maine senate from 18 to 20, giving them a five-vote advantage and solid control of the chamber. Their share of the actual vote, however, only increased by 1.5%.
That's one of the interesting facts that can be gleaned by examining the Secretary of State's official results for the 2008 general election, which are now online.
The Democrats didn't need to increase their vote by much - they already had 7.8% more of the total vote than their Republican opponents in 2006. The key was increasing their share in certain key districts. In District 15, Deborah Simpson increased her party's vote by 3.1% over 2006, winning by just .5%. In District 19, Seth Goodall increased the Democratic vote by 4.2%, winning with a margin of .7%. Both took out Republican incumbents, and with no losses the Democrats were able to strengthen their advantage in the chamber.
Despite the difference they made in the nature of the Senate, these two races were actually in the middle of the pack when it comes to changes in vote total. 8 districts saw swings in win margins of 10 points or more with Sen. John Nutting leading the way, increasing his margin by 14.3% over 2006. The only Republican to make the top ten was Deborah Plowman, who increased her margin of victory by 13.5%.
On average, Democrats increased their margin by 2.8%, but more importantly, their share of the seats in the chamber increased by 6%. After winning 54% of the vote, they now control 57% of the seats, a sign that they used their resources in the right places. Republicans garnered 44% of the vote and 43% of the seats.
The electoral landscape hasn't changed much from a visual perspective. There have been some changes in shades of red and blue, but the only striking feature is that the Democrats now have solid control of the southern coastline. Victories in Districts 15 and 19 have left District 11 a red island in a sea of blue.