Over at the Dome blog, Ryan comments that several Democrats have said Bob Orr is the more reasonable of the Republican contenders for Governor. Beyond Wayne Goodwin and Jim Protzman who he cites, I've heard this from a lot of other people as well.
As far as I know there have not been any public head to head polls on potential general election match ups in the Governor's race. That makes it hard to know if the respect of Orr crossing party lines is a broad trend or just an anomaly among some of the state's opinion leaders. And as Goodwin and Protzman have said even if Orr got the Republican nomination they'd vote for the Democratic candidate.
One thing that the recent SurveyUSA poll can tell us is that Orr won't get far on the support of self identified moderate and liberal Republicans in the primary. Although he polled slightly better with those groups than he did among conservative Republicans, conservatives made a up a whooping 64% of the sample. It will likely be the candidate who can best appeal to that demographic who will come up with the GOP nomination.
The respect Orr gets across party lines shows that many people think he's a good guy. But it probably won't do much to move him closer to the Governor's mansion.