It's going to be really interesting to see what happens to Republican incumbents in primaries in 2012 now that the far right wing of the party has had some successes in places like Alaska, Kentucky, Florida, and Nevada. It's possible that if the GOP gets control of Congress that passion will fizzle out some but it's also possible those folks could be emboldened to make their target list longer and longer.
If the latter scenario proves true Kay Bailey Hutchison could find herself in a lot of trouble. It's not that Texas Republicans don't like her. Despite her primary loss earlier this year she still has a positive 56/28 approval spread with them. It's not even necessarily that they think she's too liberal- 38% of them do, but 44% think that ideologically she's 'about right.'
But if you give them the choice of a more conservative alternative to Hutchison Texas Republicans are ready to ditch her in a minute. Only 25% of them generally say they'd vote for Hutchison if she faced a challenger from the right, while 62% say they'd pick the insurgent option.
It's somewhat remarkable that the generally popular and ideologically acceptable Hutchison would trail an unnamed challenger by 37 points but it speaks to the new reality in Republican politics- it is almost impossible to be conservative enough to keep the base happy.
Hutchison would, however, begin with a lead over one specific person whose name has been bandied about as a possible primary opponent- Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams. She has a 34-13 advantage over him in a hypothetical match up. The 13% for Williams is a clear sign that his current position doesn't give him much name recognition but the fact that only 34% of voters commit themselves to Hutchison is a pretty clear sign of weakness. Hutchison's ultimate fate over the next year and a half will say a lot about where the Republican Party is headed.
Full results here