Last November, right after she supported the health care bill in committee, we found that 59% of Maine Republicans wanted to replace Olympia Snowe with someone more conservative while only 31% said they would support her again in 2012.
The passage of 10 months hasn't done much to soften the ill will toward Snowe with members of her own party. Now 63% of them say they would support a more conservative alternative with only 29% saying they're committed to Snowe.
Moderate Republicans love Snowe. They give her a 70% approval rating and a strong majority say they'd vote to nominate her for another term. But those folks make up only 30% of the GOP electorate in Maine. It's now dominated by conservatives and they're particularly negative toward her, giving her just a 26% approval rating and saying by a 78-15 margin they'd like to trade her out for someone to the right.
When PPP first did this poll on Snowe in November many argued that there was no viable conservative who could challenge her in the primary. The success of the highly flawed Christine O'Donnell in Delaware may say something about whether insurgent Republicans actually need to be particularly good candidates on paper to get some momentum. But we did find that Snowe trails even a named Republican challenger, 2006 Gubernatorial nominee Chandler Woodcock, by a 38-33 margin in a hypothetical contest.
Ultimately Snowe's issues come down to ideology. 64% of folks within her own party think she's too liberal. Unless the Tea Party fervor really dies down between now and 2012 she sure doesn't look likely to win nomination for another term as a Republican.
Looking ahead to the 2012 Presidential race in the state Mitt Romney not surprisingly leads with 27% to 21% for Sarah Palin, 15% for Newt Gingrich, 14% for Mike Huckabee, and 7% for Ron Paul. Romney has looked solid in all of the polling we've done in New England to date.
Full results here