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In the 2020 election, the majority of voters in Maine voted for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Wouldn't Biden supporters want to make it easier for him to enact his policies by having the Democrats control both the House (which they already did) and the Senate (which Republicans controlled)?

But the majority of voters in Maine voted for the re-election of Republican Senator Susan Collins. Maine is so far the only state in this election where the party that won the presidential vote did not also win the Senate seat. Have any reputable sources explained why this occurred?

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  • I believe there is a more general question somewhere on the site about states that vote for a different party for president compared to other races in general. I'm wondering the same thing for my state of NC; who are these people that voted for both Cooper and Trump? I sure don't know any. – GendoIkari Nov 9 '20 at 16:46
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    Are you sure we can answer this question without divulging in unsubstantiated speculation? – Philipp Nov 9 '20 at 17:04
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    @Philipp: Probably the answer is some variation of "They weren't voting for Biden, they were voting against Trump; they don't actually want Biden to accomplish anything other than getting Trump out of the White House." You might be able to substantiate that with exit polls? – Kevin Nov 9 '20 at 17:18
  • Georgia (kind of) did that also. It voted for Purdue with a plurality but he is going to a runoff. – Number File Nov 9 '20 at 19:05
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    @Philipp There is no need for speculation at all. You may cite articles that discuss this. For example, I would accept citations from this article as an answer. – pacoverflow Nov 10 '20 at 15:45
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Probably for the same reason that Susan Collins has been reelected Senator since 1996 while Maine has voted for the Democrat in every presidential election since 1992.

She has a well-maintained, if questionably accurate, reputation as a moderate and has consistently received more votes than other Republicans. It's not surprising, then, that Maine saw the normal amount of split-ticket voting, with Collins on the ballot. Note, that this was her closest election, winning by 8.8% compared with 16%, 23%, and 37% in her previous 3 elections.

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Wouldn't Biden supporters want to make it easier for him to enact his policies by having the Democrats control both the House (which they already did) and the Senate (which Republicans controlled)?

Not at all. Biden was the least offensive candidate to the greatest amount of people. He didn't campaign by getting people excited about leading the country in a new direction as e.g Sanders did. He campaigned by trying not to offend people, so as many as possible would see him as an acceptable alternative to Trump. He did not really campaign on promises of some kind of radical liberal policies that he'd need Senate support to enact.

Collins herself has the bonus of incumbency, and still has a reputation as one of the most moderate Republicans in the Senate -presumably someone Biden can work with since he repeatedly mentioned his preference for bipartisan compromise.

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