Gov. LePage: Obama got more votes from whites than you

President Obama and baby, July 2012

Evidently Gov. LePage said that President Obama “hates white people” and Rick Bennett, the chair of the Maine Republican Party said  “President Obama had an opportunity to unify the country on race, but didn’t do anything.”

These comments have already gone viral, affecting how people nationally see our state. But let’s put that aside and pretend that the governor and Mr. Bennett were setting out statements amenable to being empirically tested.

Now, if President Obama really hates white people, you’d think they’d notice and not vote for him. It’s not clear what Bennett means by unifying the country on race, but you’d think that it would be a sign that Obama hadn’t done so if he couldn’t get many white people to support him.

Yet Obama’s done perfectly well among white voters, certainly in some places.

Maine is the whitest state in the country (96.9% white) and Vermont is the second most white (96.7% white).

Obama won both, convincingly. Twice.

In 2012, Obama won 56.3% of the vote in Maine and 66.6% in Vermont.

In 2008, Obama won 57.7% of the vote in Maine and 67.5% in Vermont.

And how did LePage do in Maine in 2010? Not anywhere near Obama’s total — just 38%.

Sounds like President Obama didn’t have any problem gaining support from white voters in the state where the Republican governor says the president “hates white people” and the Republican Party Chair says the president can’t “unify the country on race.”

Now, admittedly Obama didn’t win a majority of white voters nationwide. But he did in all of New England and the Northeast and in a number of other states.

In fact, what brought Obama’s support from whites down nationally was the very low percentage of white southerners who support him — only 27%.

As Kevin Drum puts it, “Democrats don’t have a white problem. They have a Southern white problem, and that’s a whole different thing.”

And, in Maine, Governor LePage, Obama got more votes from whites than you.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.