Flags endorsing President Donald Trump are hoisted on the "Presque Isle Welcomes You" sign near Presque Isle's south entrance. Credit: David Marino Jr. / Presque Isle Star-Herald

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A rural region filled with farmers and blue collar workers, it is perhaps unsurprising how much of a base Aroostook County has become for President Donald Trump.

In the 2020 presidential election, about 59 percent of Aroostook County residents (20,991 people total) voted for Trump and 39 percent (13,862) for Democratic candidate Joe Biden. Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen received 1.1 percent (378), Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins 0.6 percent (231) and Alliance Party candidate Rocky De La Fuente 0.1 percent (52).

Trump improved his 2016 margin in The County by three points — his largest increase in any county in Maine — helping the president win Maine’s 2nd Congressional District. In a state Biden is poised to win by nine points, only Somerset and Washington counties had higher margins for Trump.

The Aroostook results are unofficial until certified by the Maine Secretary of State and do not include the municipality of Garfield Plantation, where data was unavailable as of Friday despite several attempts to obtain it.

The County’s embrace of the president was not a foregone conclusion but represents a broader feeling about Trump by rural America that has occurred across the United States in the last two presidential elections. Across Aroostook County’s many small towns, Trump signs, bumper stickers, flags and memorabilia are practically omnipresent.

Analysts have often labeled Trump’s base as an older white working-class group, all of which is true in Aroostook County. The Aroostook County population is older, less diverse and less wealthy than the average Mainer and average American.

After nearly a century of supporting Republicans, Aroostook County has gone along with the rest of Maine in increasingly supporting Democratic candidates — it voted for Democratic presidential candidates every election from 1992 to 2012. But in 2016, it became one of 206 “pivot counties” that voted for Donald Trump in 2016 after voting for Democratic candidate Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

Trump won the vote in 58 out of 63 Aroostook County municipalities on which data was available. In the places he won, his average margin of victory was 32 points, and he won by more than 40 points in 21 municipalities.

Biden won Madawaska by 10 percent (203 votes), Wallagrass by 9 percent (19 votes), Van Buren by 6 percent (56 votes) and Westmanland by 11 percent (6 votes). Biden and Trump tied with 121 votes apiece in Saint Francis.

Trump won several towns that Hillary Clinton won in 2016 — often by large margins — including Grand Isle, Stockholm, Caswell, Grand Isle, Stockholm and Caswell.

Of Aroostook County’s most populous cities and towns — Presque Isle, Caribou, Houlton, Fort Kent and Madawaska — all saw Trump increase his margin except for Houlton, where he received 1 percent less. Of those, Madawaska saw the biggest change, with 6 percent more voting for Trump.

From top left (clockwise): A van adorned with several symbols endorsing President Donald Trump’s re-election is displayed outside Willette’s Automotive on Skyway Street in this October 2020 file photo; Flags endorsing President Donald Trump’s re-election are hoisted on the “Presque Isle Welcomes You” sign near Presque Isle’s south entrance in this September 2020 file photo; Riverside Inn Restaurant Owner Danny Collins shows off his gloves and American flag facemask — which also references President Donald Trump — on Monday, May 18. Credit: David Marino Jr. | BDN

In municipalities with more than 50 voters, the southern Aroostook town of Linneus put out President Trump’s largest margin. The president received 81 percent of the vote (411 votes) to Biden’s 18 percent (93 votes). He received higher percentages in Glenwood Plantation — where the lone resident that voted cast their ballot for him — and Moro Plantation, where he received 93 percent of the vote (27 votes).

The best region for Trump was in the Houlton region, where of 8,273 voters, 69 percent (5,759) voted for Trump and 30 percent (2,492) for Biden. Hawkins and Jorgensen each received 1 percent.

From the 12,260 voters in the Presque Isle region, 60 percent (7,360) voted for Trump and 38 percent (4,633) for Biden. Hawkins and Jorgensen each received one percent.

Caribou’s 10,002 voters went for Trump, giving him 57 percent (5,659) of the vote to the president and 41 percent to Biden. Hawkins and Jorgensen each received 1 percent.

Biden’s strongest region was in the St. John Valley, though he still lost to Trump. From the 8,541 voters in the St. John Valley, 50 percent voted for Trump and 48 percent voted for Biden. Hawkins and Jorgensen each received 1 percent.

Of the about 50,243 voters in Aroostook County, 16,738 (33 percent) are registered as independents, 15,817 as Democrats (31.5 percent), 15,746 as Republicans (31.3 percent) and 1,942 with the Green Party (4 percent).