Caitlyn Rooms

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Political Science, International Affairs


Robert Glover, Mark Brewer

Committee Members

Amy Fried, Christopher Mares, Kristin Vekasi

Graduation Year

May 2021

Publication Date

Spring 5-2021


Understanding the political priorities of a population is key to unravelling the ways that people engage in local, state, and national politics. National polling organizations do studies in every election cycle on the domestic priorities of national voters, and every few years on the foreign policy priorities of the American public. These polls help academics and policymakers understand the motivations of the American populace and help to guide the public narrative surrounding contentious issues. Polls like this are, however, rare at the state level. This study aims to fill that gap for the state of Maine, providing state-level data on the domestic and foreign policy priorities of Maine voters. This study replicated two Pew Research Center polls to investigate the issues of highest priority to Maine voters in the 2020 presidential election and the foreign policy priorities of Maine voters. The study found that Maine voters prioritized many of the same issues as national voters, with heavy interest in the economy and healthcare, but that Maine voters were more likely to consider the Coronavirus outbreak and economic inequality as high priorities than national voters. In foreign policy, Maine voter priorities lined up closely with national ones, with both groups putting strong emphasis on protecting American jobs and issues of national security. Maine voters were also found to be less concerned with most issues overall, prioritizing almost every issue less than national voters. Maine voters were particularly disinterested in Supreme Court appointments and foreign policy compared to national voters. This study also addressed how demographic differences in age, gender, political affiliation, income, education level, and urban/rural identity influenced the priorities of Maine voters, finding that urbanity and age likely had the largest impact on the difference between Maine and national priorities.