Monday, September 13, 2010

63% say trade out Snowe

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


DBL said...

Like Castle, Snowe has won a gazillion elections in her home state. If she can't figure out how to win a GOP primary in 2012 she doesn't deserve the nomination.

Anonymous said...

Romney won 52% of the vote in Maine in 2008. So I wouldn't call leading Palin by a 27-21 margin a good result for him.

NRH said...

This absolutely should be a wake-up call to Snowe and Collins. The Maine Republican Party has abandoned the last vestiges of Yankee Republicanism, and that's what Snowe and Collins ran on. The only way they can win another term is to switch parties now - when they can win major gratitude from Maine and national Democrats for breaking the 60-vote threshold, making it all but mathematically impossible for Republicans to take the Senate (even if the unelectable O'Donnell doesn't take out Castle in Delaware), and making a strong statement about the extremism of the modern Republican Party.

If they switch now, in a year when they're not immediately up for re-election, they can make the case that they're switching based on principles rather than self-interest, where Arlen Specter made it too obvious he was only switching at the last minute as a political ploy. This would give them time to build up a solid Democratic voting record in the intervening years, and Snowe has been much more moderate than Specter was anyhow. Republicans have no argument to make to keep Snowe aligned with them; time after time this cycle it's been demonstrated that party leadership can't protect its incumbents and favored picks from the frothing Republican base, and if the Senate gets close enough that Snowe or Collins would make the difference, Democrats would offer them the same incentives of chairmanships and seniority that Republicans can offer, with the added inducement of a legitimate chance at re-election in the coming years.

The only reason I can think of that either one of them would decide to stay in place would be stubborn loyalty to a party that no longer exists, its name co-opted by a lunatic fringe.

DBL said...

Fascinating. You advocate that Snowe and Collins should switch parties simply to win elections, but do so now so it won't seem like they're doing it to win an election. You contradict yourself with these two statements. If they switch parties, everyone will know why.

It won't make a "strong statement about the extremism of the modern Republican Party," just about them. Do you have any idea if they even believe the Republican party is extreme?

Then you advocate that they start voting with the Democrats more. You assume that neither woman has any convictions or beliefs and that their vote is for sale to anyone who can get them elected.

Even if they have no convictions, the Democratic establishment has shown it can't protect anyone. Arlen Specter lost. Blanche Lincoln and Michael Bennet nearly went down. No one on the left cared who the White House told them to vote for.

Arlen Specter not only got punished instead of rewarded at the voting booth, but also in committee assignments. He thought the Democrats would retain his seniority and they gave him none.

Switching parties for survival is a sign of low character. I hope these women have some.

Christian Liberty said...

No surprise NRH would suggest switching parties for political gain. It just shows how unprincipled Demoncrats really are.

Such unprincipled political hacks are precisely why the Tea Party movement will be even stronger in 2012 than it is now. Such unprincipled gamesmanship is precisely why Tea Party candidates are so popular, despite the handwringing of the pundits. Only those who are completely out of touch with America could fail to see the appeal of Tea Party candidates. Only those beholden to the establishment system could support RINOs rather than the principled Tea Party candidates.

NRH said...

Snowe and Collins are career politicians who make their living being Republicans in a Democratic state. They don't have any pretense left of being principled conservatives *or* being principled moderates, given their schizophrenic voting records. Their motivation is self-interest, and their self-interest can be best served by a party switch. They have no viable route to re-election as Republicans, but could potentially keep their jobs as Democrats. It's as simple as that.

By switching now, they can disguise their self-interested motivations by using the lunatic teabagger takeover of the Maine GOP as a rationale. As for 'not being able to protect anyone,' Lincoln was cratering and establishment support pulled her through, as it did Bennet - they both faced stiff challenges, but ultimately did survive, thanks to that support. Specter was the only one to go down despite it, and he made his own mess - "I changed parties to get re-elected" was a truly damning line.

As for Tea Party candidates, only someone out of touch with reality could miss the way teabaggers poll, on average, twenty points worse in the general than their 'establishment' primary opponents. Murkowski to Miller, drop of ~25 points. Grayson to Paul, drop of ~13 points. Castle to O'Donnell, drop of ~25 points. Crist to Rubio, drop of ~20 points. Argue if you like that in a year with a Republican tailwind those drops might be survivable, but try to find claims with some factual basis.

Anonymous said...

As much as I dis-like Arlen Specter, he never did say, "I changed parties to get re-elected". He was simply quoting someone who was accusing him of doing so. Again, a cleverly edited video.

FGH said...

Compromise is a tool you use to get the best legislation possible, but you have to persuade the big center that your way is the better way. We’re in an age where politicians assert, insist and leave. It’s all quick, blunt and dumb. But to win and hold the center you have to make your case, you have to show you’re philosophically serious, you have to show your logic, and connect it to a philosophy. You don’t sit around saying, “I like centrists so I compromise,” you say, “Here’s what we believe, here’s how we think and why.”

That's Peggy Noonan—on why the emerging GOP is looking more to conviction politicians than opportunists such as Maine's Snowe and Collins. It would seem that the country—and also Maine, given the election of a tea partier as governor—is increasingly interested more in the former than the latter.

Willi said...

Maine needs to divest itself of these throwbacks. By pandering to career politicians Maine has opted for the status quo, in the past and the end result is that they only enriched both Snowe and Collins far beyond thier capacity to actually earn either, politically or monetarily. These preditors are a product of there own special interest groups and therefore no different from the rest of the antiquarians that are currently "serving" as career politicians in Washington D.C.. They care for nothing that doesn't supply thier coffers with more money... Both are property of the insurance/healthcare "industry" as well as corporate lackies for General Dynamics and the pulp and paper bussiness. They are also a bi-product of the politically incestuous environment that Billy " don't ask don't tell" Cohen had spawned 20 years back. The citizens of Maine need to smarten up and rid themselves of these geriatric parasites before more jobs are lost and get somebody in, that is willing to spend less time in D.C. and more time with thier electorate. In real terms they need to be unmasked for the obstructionists and opportunist's they really are. Elaborate store fronts in select towns claiming themselves as headquarters does little to conceal the fact that these are creatures of Washington D.C. and that that is thier preffered venue. Remove the career from politics and maybe something will get done.

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