With a new poll suggesting that Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) could potentially lose her 2012 Republican primary to a conservative challenger, does the political environment in Maine mean that she could be in real danger from the right, or that she might have to become an independent or even a Democrat?
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Snowe's office has not returned out requests for comment. We spoke to Mark Brewer, an associate political science professor at the University of Maine, for the opinion and perspective of a local expert.
"Certainly the numbers among Republicans are a little surprising. It is certainly the case that the Maine Republican Party has a pretty significant faction within it that is relatively conservative, that has for a decent amount of time now looked at Sen. Snowe somewhat skeptically, I guess -- and that's probably being charitable to a certain degree," said Brewer. "So the fact that there's anger within the Maine GOP at Snowe isn't surprising. The fact that the figure among the Republican primary figure, and the fact that there were 59%-31% in favor of a conservative challenge, that surprised me a little bit."