Twice annual time change should stop, say most Mainers surveyed by University of Maine researchers

Two student researchers assisted with the analysis, which was commissioned by the Maine Legislature

As Mainers prepare to lose an hour of sleep this weekend when the clocks spring forward, a new study from the University of Maine shows a majority of those surveyed in the state think the twice annual time change should stop.

Of the 220 business and community leader respondents, 72% said the clocks should stop being changed twice a year, while 21% supported continuation of the current practice. 

Many surveyed by the UMaine researchers also believed that permanent Daylight Saving Time would benefit their employees and operations by providing more daylight at the end of the day, improving late-day productivity and commuting safety. 

In recognition that there has been continued legislative and public interest in Maine ending the practice of changing its clocks twice each year, the Legislature recently directed the University of Maine System (UMS) to study the potential effects of Maine adopting permanent Eastern Standard Time (EST) or permanent Eastern Daylight Time and provided $15,000 in State appropriation. 

In addition to a survey, the study included a review of existing scientific literature on how changing the clocks and various time zones impact public health, workforce productivity and even energy usage, and an analysis of Maine’s trade patterns. 

In order for any area in the United States to move from one time zone to another, permission must first be granted from the U.S. Department of Transportation, which requires a study of how the change in the standard of time would impact the so-called convenience of commerce.  

UMaine associate professor of regional economic development Andrew Crawley led the research team, which importantly included two students, Elinor Hunt of Bangor, and Ruth Griffith of Guilford.

Hunt, a first-year graduate student, conducted the literature review and created colorful graphics to present the survey results so that they would be both easily understood and engaging, a process known as data visualization. 

“I love seeing the survey results really come into focus when you display them visually. For this study, what stood out to me was how much the responses we received from stakeholders here in Maine lined up with what we learned during the literature review,” she said. 

There is currently no active legislation at the state level and the Sunshine Protection Act of 2023, which would make daylight savings time permanent nationally, has not advanced this session in Congress. 

Those who responded to UMaine’s survey emphasized the importance of Maine being consistent with other states in the region. Reinforcing that, the study showed that 66% of the state’s total domestic imports and 63.5% of its domestic exports are in the EST zone.

“Once again, the University of Maine has conducted a very helpful study to help contribute to an ongoing debate before policymakers in Augusta and one of ‘timely’ interest to all Mainers,” said Maine Sen. Rick Bennett, whose legislation initiated the study. “I want to thank the university for their tremendously able contribution.”

The full UMaine report is available on the Maine Legislature website

Consistent with the System’s new strategic plan, Maine’s public universities have a long tradition of conducting research that advances the state, including studies to inform public policymaking in Augusta. 

This is not the first time Hunt, who graduated from Bangor High School, has been part of research being presented to the Legislature and made available to the public. She also has worked with Crawley on a labor market analysis for the Legislature’s Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business Committee as part of an ongoing research partnership between UMS and that committee. 

“I love getting brought into these projects. Really from the day I started as an undergraduate student at the University of Maine, I’ve had the opportunity to work with my professors on real-world projects like this that help me apply what I am learning in the classroom and develop new skills,” she said. “UMaine professors are really well connected in this state. They are doing a lot of research that matters here, and they are really good about including students in that.”

Contact: Samantha Warren,