Brian Duff, Ph.D., associate professor in and chair of the Department of Political Science, was recently featured in two publications discussing state and national politics and the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Duff was first featured in Bloomberg Government on April 24, where he talked about Maine Sen. Susan Collins’ declining popularity both in Maine and across the nation.
Duff said Collins’ recent 37% approval rating is likely the result of the Republican senator’s repeated voting along party lines, including her support of the 2017 tax overhaul, her vote to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, and her acquittal of President Donald Trump during his impeachment trial.
“It’s going to be very difficult for her to make a strong case to voters that she shouldn’t be lumped together with Trump,” Duff told reporter Nancy Ognanovich. “In general, Maine is becoming more and more one of these New England states that is shifting with national politics. New England is blue, and I think it’s going to catch up with Collins eventually, and I think there’s a very good chance it’s going to catch up with her this year.”
Duff was also featured in the Portland Press Herald on April 26, where he discussed the politicization of the coronavirus pandemic. Reporter Rachel Ohm noted that political ads in Maine’s race for the U.S. Senate are focusing on shortages of personal protective equipment for health care workers and on economic relief for the state’s small businesses.
Those factors, falling prey to partisan divide, could be important in determining how Mainers vote in November, Duff said.
“It is going to be the major issue,” he advised. “It’s really going to be a matter of which party does a better job grabbing ahold of their framing of that issue.”