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Public opinion heavily opposed to giving away Maine’s electoral college votes

Senate President Troy Jackson is the sponsor of the bill to give away Maine’s electoral college votes to the winner of the national popular vote.

AUGUSTA – If online public opinion polls and questions asked by Maine’s mainstream news media are any indication of public opinion on the matter of giving away Maine’s electoral college votes via the National Popular Vote Compact, the issue is deeply unpopular.

A poll conducted by WABI, the Bangor based CBS/CW+ television affiliate, as their question of the day showed more than 81% of the nearly 1,600 respondents opposed joining the Interstate National Popular Vote Compact.

WABI POLL: Should Maine allow its electoral votes to go to the winner of the popular vote?

Yes – 18.87%
No – 81.13%

In southern Maine, WMTW, a Portland based ABC affiliate, asked Mainers on Facebook how they felt about the National Popular Vote, and again the results were lopsided in opposition to the proposal to give away Maine’s electoral college votes.

Where do you stand? Should Presidential elections be decided by National Popular Vote?

More than 1,100 people responded to say NO, while just under 570 said YES. That puts opposition to the proposal at more than 65%. You can view that question by clicking here.

Across Facebook and online platforms, the opposition appears to be similar in size and intensity.

The proposal to give away Maine’s electoral college votes via a bill in the Maine Legislature will be voted on again tomorrow.

Initially the Maine Senate approved the proposal, but it was defeated in the Maine House of Representatives when 21 House Democrats voted with Republicans to oppose the bill.

Following that initial round of votes, the Maine Senate voted to “insist” that the House vote to approve the bill as the Senate had. That led to a confusing turn of events where the House vote failed again, yet was brought back through a procedural maneuver, that required two more votes in the House to pass it.

Under the proposal, Maine would give it’s electoral college votes to the winner of the so-called national popular vote, even if that candidate lost and performed very poorly in Maine. Some lawmakers have noted that it could result in Maine’s votes being given to a candidate that openly opposed Maine’s interests in industries such as ship building, forestry, fishing or others.

Others have pointed to fact that Maine’s votes are increased in power through the electoral college, and joining the compact actually decreases the power of Maine’s vote.

But supporters, such as Rep. Nicole Grohoski (D-Ellsworth), seemed to embrace the reduction in the power of Maine’s vote, saying she did not believe her vote should be counted for any more than any other “adult American.”

Rep. John Andrews (R – Paris), an outspoken defender of the electoral college, has called the proposal “the most dangerous bill offered this session” and that, “No one in the House or Senate ran on a platform of abolishing the electoral college. If they had run on subverting the electoral college and giving away Maine’s voice to large cities, they would have been laughed off the campaign trail.”

Because the initial approval of the bill is not enough to send it to the desk of Governor Janet Mills, the House is required to vote to approve it one more time through a vote for “enactment” of the legislation.

The vote Monday is expected to be close, with pressure from voters building in opposition to the bill but powerful political insiders on the Democratic side of the aisle pushing for approval.

The bill, L.D. 816, is sponsored by Senate President Troy Jackson.

Speaker of the Maine House Sara Gideon has voted in support of the proposal.

READ MORE: Maine House votes down bill to give away electoral college votes, more votes to come (with roll call link)

READ MORE: Bill would give away Maine’s electoral college votes to winner of national popular vote

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