Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Maine Republicans still want to get rid of Snowe

It's been clear for a long time now that Maine Republicans want to swap out Olympia Snowe for someone more conservative. Our newest poll in the state finds that hasn't changed: only 33% of primary voters in the state say they would support Snowe next year to 58% who prefer a generic 'more conservative candidate.'

The gripe with Snowe is pretty straight forward. 58% of primary voters think she's too liberal to 37% who think she's ideologically where she should be. Most GOP voters don't really think Snowe belongs in their party- 34% think she ought to be an independent, 33% think she should be a Democrat, and only 27% feel that the GOP is indeed her rightful place.

Snowe's approval rating with Republican primary voters is a narrowly positive 47/44 spread. It may seem surprising that her generic reelect numbers are so bad when she's above ground on approval but to keep those numbers in perspective Lisa Murkowski's approval with Republicans in January of 2010 was 77/13 and Mike Castle's in March of 2009 at an identical point in the cycle was 69/24. Their far superior numbers didn't prevent them from being taken out by the Tea Party.

The appetite is definitely there for someone to replace Olympia Snowe. Whether the folks who have already signed up to do it- Andrew Ian Dodge and Scott D'Amboise- are capable of doing so is another question. D'Amboise has only a 5% favorability rating with primary voters and 84% don't know enough about him to offer an opinion. Dodge is even more obscure with just a 2% positive rating and 86% of of voters saying they're ambivalent toward him. Because they're so obscure Snowe leads a primary with them in the mix at 43% to 18% for D'Amboise and 10% for Dodge.

Snowe shouldn't take too much solace in those numbers- pretty much all of the successful Tea Party challengers last year started out relatively unknown and well behind. But it does show the potential for her to survive by virtue of a split within the Tea Party ranks and it also shows that she's not so unpopular that you can just put someone on the ballot against her and they'll win- it's going to take a well run, well funded campaign.

Assuming that the folks who want to get rid of Snowe do coalesce behind a single challenger and run a competent campaign against her it's going to be very difficult for her to win the Republican nomination. Her best path to reelection may be as an independent, and we'll take a look tomorrow at how that might work out for her.

Full results here


RC said...

These kind of numbers for Snowe are eerily similar to Joe Lieberman's, who saw the writing on the wall and decided not to run again. I'm not sure Snowe can even win as an Independent. Maine Democrats are also fed up with her.

I see her retiring rather than embarass herself.

OC said...

What a gift! These idiots are basically handing Maine to the Democratic Party on a silver platter.

Snowe either switches to the Democratic Party or her career is over (and if she goes to the Democratic Party she needs to be a real Democrat to have any chance of making it through that primary.)

Anonymous said...

RC clearly knows nothing about Maine politics. She'll run and win, and as a Republican.

Keep in mind this is a poll of registered (not likely) voters 18 months before the election. Making blanket statements based on misleading polls more than a year ahead of time is pretty inane.

Anonymous said...

Those are very very weak #s for Snowe given that her primary challengers have only 5% favorability max. And yet, combined, they're only 15 points behind her.

RC said...

Anon 12:39,

Actually Snowe's numbers are worse if you factor in the likely voter set -- hard-right voters. They are the kind of folks who show up diligently to vote in primaries.

Remember Castle/O'Donnell? Same dynamic at play here, with Snowe in a much weaker position.

Anonymous said...

Not primary numbers for Snowe vs LePage?

Why not if you poll Ensign vs Heller?

I hope see something about Snowe vs LePage, if not, what a waste of time...

Tom Jensen said...

Paul LePage said he supports Olympia Snowe. If Dean Heller had said he supported John Ensign we wouldn't have tested them against each other.

Anonymous said...

LePage will not run against Snowe. When he was a young man, she and her husband helped him out in many ways, including getting into college. Although they are ideologically different, there is a strong personal bond and LePage has said he would not support anyone else.

Under current voting rules, independents could show up to the polls and change their registrations to Republican and vote for Snowe. however, there is a bill in the Maine legislature which would do away with same day registration, so this could change.

wt said...

Snowe wins with a fractured Tea Party vote and strong support from Governor Page. 45% should be enough.

Anonymous said...

Ihope some idiot right-winger runs against her in the primary and she pulls a Murkowski and runs as an indy. Snowe, Collins, and Murkowski are the face of the GOP moving forward...young voters like their liberal social views and conservative fiscal views-- embrace it, GOP, or go the way of the Whigs.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you polled this one, interesting results. I posted before saying that I thought that while both Dodge and D'Amboise would be low due to their low ID, as they are, byt Dodge would be ahead at first because of CPAC publicity. But D'Amboise has a better profile to fit the base, and has been campaigning for a year, so it makes sense that he's ahead already. If Dodge gets out and TPX gets behind D'Amboise, or if someone stronger like Carol Weston forces them both aside, I don't see how Snowe survives.

Anonymous said...

Reality check guys.

Paul LePage only won (and just barely) because the independent candidate got ~37% of the vote. Two thirds of Mainers think Paul LePage is a moron.

In a two way race the hard right loses badly in Maine. Snowe might lose the GOP nomination, but the tea party won't win the general. If the GOP wants Ethan Strimling to be the next Senator from Maine they'll run a TP candidate against Snowe.

joecool said...

Snowe is likely to take herself out over debt ceiling, when she succumbs to her liberal core and votes to be popular.

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