Friday, September 10, 2010

Tough Road for Snowe

Maine Republicans disapprove of Olympia Snowe and they think her rightful place is in the Democratic Party.

Our Maine poll this week finds that Snowe continues to be one of the most popular Senators in the country with a 50/40 approval rating, which in this political environment is great. Her numbers are very unusual though in that her highest level of popularity is with Democrats at 59/29. She's on solid ground with independents as well at 52/39. It's the voters in her own party bringing down her overall numbers- a 51% majority of Republicans disapprove of her with only 40% giving her good marks.

Snowe should have an interesting balancing act if she runs again in 2012. By a 40-36 margin Democrats in the state say her rightful place is in the Republican Party. But by a 50-37 spread Republicans say she would fit in better as a Democrat. Snowe's best path to reeelection may be as an independent caucusing with the Democrats- we'll release numbers on Monday that make it very clear her chances of being nominated again as a Republican are slim if she gets a half viable challenge from the right.

Other observations from Maine:

-Susan Collins, although not as popular as Snowe, sees the same basic trends in her approval numbers. Democrats like her the most at 49/38, followed by independents at 46/40, and Republicans disapprove of her 40/50. It all adds up to slightly positive reviews at 45/43.

-There's been pretty much no change in public opinion on gay marriage in the state since last fall. 49% of voters say they think it should be illegal to 43% who think they should be allowed. Maine voters rejected the state's law allowing same sex marriage last fall by that identical 6 point margin.

Full results here

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

You didn't know enough about Maine to put a candidate in the poll against Snowe in the primary. That should be a hint that you don't know enough to draw any conclusions either.

Tom Jensen said...

We did put a candidate against Snowe in the primary and as I wrote in this post we will be out with that on Monday.

Anonymous said...

Your continual assertions about Maine continually show what little you know about the state. Snowe would NEVER run as a Democrat - period, nor would she ever caucus with them. Her husband was governor and he went into a shutdown fighting with the Democrats over the budget; she hasn't forgotten that. Even if she did want to run as a Dem, the state party would NEVER accept her, regardless of what most Democrats in Maine think of her.

The idea of her running as an unenrolled candidate and caucusing with Republicans is reasonable. Any other scenario is absurd.

DBLasdon said...

Switching to the Democratic Party didn't work for Arlen Specter. Being an independent caucusing with the Democrats hasn't made Joe Lieberman more popular with Democrats and he will get a strong Democratic challenger in 2012.

Going independent is going to be a disaster for Charlie Crist. Snowe may be a RINO with a 40% Republican approval rating now, but that'd plummet if she went independent. A strong challenger from the left will erode her Democratic support, just as Meek is doing to Crist.

Maine has a decent share of independents, but independents aren't loyal and their opinions are diverse. Crist can't get as many independents as Rubio can get Republicans or Meek Democrats.

wt said...

The only way to win one of these three-way races that we seem to be hearing a lot about lately is to marginalize the losing party to the degree that it picks the lesser of two evils, ala Republicans going for Lieberman over the GOP candidate in 2006.

But Snowe would have the same, if not worse, problem that Crist is having. She couldn't cobble together enough support in the middle to carry 40%.

The answer seems to be to pull a McCain -- hit your primary opponent early and hard, and don't let up. With Snowe, though, she can't move too far right because Maine is a lot bluer than AZ.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"Switching to the Democratic Party didn't work for Arlen Specter."

Specter didn't have nearly the approval among Dems that Snowe does, and he wasn't even considered as moderate and Dem-friendly as the two Maine senators are. Plus, Maine has a history of independents getting elected, at least as governor, and even if she were to run as a Dem, I think she'd have an easier time than Specter did in his primary because Maine's Dem bench seems to be weaker than PA's.

"Being an independent caucusing with the Democrats hasn't made Joe Lieberman more popular with Democrats"

He had the opposite problem as Snowe. Snowe is a Republican unpopular in her own party for her votes bucking the party leadership and helping Dems, and she'd leave behind her problems with the GOP, unlike Lieberman, who still caucuses with his former party. Snowe hasn't gone as far as Lieberman did to displease the Dems (she hasn't endorsed a Democratic presidential candidate while still in the GOP), and she wouldn't unless she changed parties. Plus, p'ing off Dems in blue CT is a greater danger than pissing off R's in blueish purple ME.

"Going independent is going to be a disaster for Charlie Crist."

It's a tightrope, sure, but a lot of his problem is the enthusiasm gap. In our last poll of registered voters, it looked like he was winning soundly with a nice tri-partisan coalition, but when we switched to our likely voter screen, he was suddenly down, though not by much. Meek's candidacy is proving to be a threat to that coalition, probably a death knell, but if the turnout breakdown were different, it might not have been to such a great extent. There are more Republicans and fewer Dems and I's this year.

Anonymous said...

Arlen Specter was probably hated more by the right than Collins or Snowe. To say that his independent bid failed because he was too conservative for the Democratic Party is probably more a damnation of the current position the Democrats hold on the political scale.

Anonymous said...

Government rationing of healthcare and death panels wouldn't be happening if it weren't for her.

I'll be donating to her opponent.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"She couldn't cobble together enough support in the middle to carry 40%."

In a state where she's loved by almost 60% of both Dems and Is and pretty well disliked by GOPers, the only way she'd fall into Crist's trap is if she decided, like he did, not to switch parties until after it was clear she'd lose her primary bid. That's the main reason Republicans are upset with Crist. If the GOP had to nominate what would surely be a weaker nominee in a less Republican state than FL and a less Republican year than 2010, Snowe could probably win. We're seeing Lincoln Chafee, a former Republican who was once in Snowe's situation, have some success in RI as a moderate independent in a blue state.

beachmom said...

We already have a slogan for the next time Snowe runs:
Snowe Removal 2012

NRH said...

Specter's problem was that he waited too long and made his move too obvious. "I switched so I could get re-elected" was a very, very bad line for him to deliver (paraphrased). Not switching until after his election season had for all intents and purposes already begun was a bad move too. And yes, his approval among Democrats was miserable too.

If Snowe and Collins were to switch parties now, denouncing the Tea Party loudly in the midst of a pro-Tea Party environment when they don't face an immediate threat, they would win themselves vast amounts of Democratic support, particularly given that their two votes would make it functionally impossible for Republicans to take the Senate. They'd have years left to build solid Democratic voting records. Their hope otherwise has to be that the wave of frothing anger on the right will have subsided in two or four years to the point where saner minds point out that a teabagger candidate can't win Maine. Snowe might take hope that her next run will be in a Presidential election year and draw more than just the hard-core extremist Republican base, but primaries even in the Presidential years are base-dominated events.

If either of the two ladies from Maine want to see another term, their best hope is to lay the groundwork now and change parties.

wt said...

Chafee endorsed Obama in 2008 and is running to the left of even the Democrat, Caprio. I wouldn't measure his success now as a good indicator of Snowe's in 2012.

I think you're right that she would have a chance in an independent bid, but in a Presidential year, when Maine Democrats have a choice between an Independent who won't caucus with them or a Dem who will, I don't think her odds would be good, especially if it's a qualified Dem candidate with a strong endorsement from Obama.

Better just to drive up your GOP opponent's negatives and beat them in the primary.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"Government rationing of healthcare and death panels wouldn't be happening if it weren't for her."

In the fantasy world in your head where those things are even happening now, you can vote for her opponent.

Anonymous said...

I lived in Maine when Maggie was still a senator.I had great respect for the lady. AT that time demoncrats could be elected to local offices, it seemed, but never to a state wide office. And you did not mention the name Kennedy along the coast. I really did like some of the tales the old timers did tell, if you could get them to talk.

DBL said...

Snowe has a lifetime ACU score of 48. That's not good by Republican standards or by Democratic standards. Lincoln has a score of 19 and she's too conservative for Progressives. The White House couldn't clear the field for her, Bennet, or Specter. There's no way she wouldn't get a challenge from her left. I think Tom Allen would fare pretty well against in her in a Democratic Primary.

The Republicans don't have a well known bench, but they'll support unknowns like Scott Brown, Joe Miller, Sharron Angle et al over establishment candidates.

Approval rating is one thing. Voting is another. Now if you polled Snowe vs. Allen (w/Dems) or Snowe vs. Raye (w/Republicans) or all three and showed she came in strong I'd say you were right.

Rosebud Collection said...

This I know..when they both come up for election..I will everything in my power to see them lose.

Philip said...

Did you poll the general election for Snowe as an Independent, or just the primary?

Arcadian said...

Take a long, hard look at Blanche Lincoln or Arlen Specter in 2010 and you'll see the fate of both Snowe and Collins in those cards.

Everyone who voted for the Obamacare Obamanation will be gotten rid of at the voting booth.

Anonymous said...

"Everyone who voted for the Obamacare Obamanation will be gotten rid of at the voting booth."

I see your point for Lincoln (except that she's a Dem), but Specter, Snowe, and Collins would all likely be replaced by Democrats to the left of them, so how does that help?

 
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