Well this is probably not a great sign for an incumbent Republican Senator facing reelection: a new poll of likely GOP primary voters in Maine shows more than 65% don’t think Sen. Olympia Snowe belongs in the Republican party.
The outspoken moderate and sometime aisle-crosser apparently still has a long way to go before she convinces Republicans in Maine she’s one of them. But the results of the poll show that against two potential primary rivals, Snowe still comes out on top.
The Public Policy Polling (D) survey of 434 “usual Maine Republican primary voters” found just 27% of them think Snowe “properly belongs in the Republican party.” Thirty-four percent said she’s best described as an independent, while 33% said Snowe’s really more of a Democrat.Ideologically, 58% of the respondents said Snowe is “too liberal.” Just 37% said she’s “about right” on the political spectrum.
And pitted against a generic “more conservative challenger,” Snowe’s seems like she could be facing a fight. Just 33% said they’d vote for her in the hypothetical primary, while 58% said they’d support her more conservative opponent.
Past polling has also shown Snowe on shaky ground with her own party. In a PPP poll last September, a 42% plurality of Maine voters said Snowe should be a Democrat. And while Snowe had a solid 50% approval rating, that was largely the result of a robust support from both Democrats and Independents. Meanwhile, a majority of Republicans, 51%, actually said they disapproved of her job performance, while only 40% of GOP voters stood behind her.
But when it comes to the actual field, Snowe’s still looking good. There are two tea partiers making moves to run against Snowe at the moment, though they’re generally viewed as, less than serious challengers. One is Andrew Ian Dodge, the tea party leader who announced his campaign by waving his birth certificate in a hotel suite at CPAC last month. The other is Scott D’Amboise, who one Maine paper reports “has been stalking across the state for months promoting his Tea Party-themed primary campaign without creating much support or excitement.”
Against both men, the poll shows Snowe cleaning up. In a three-way race, Snowe draws 43% while D’Amboise pulls in 18% and Dodge comes in third with 10%. Twenty-eight percent are undecided.
That’s one small bit of good news for Snowe. But the poll shows that if conservatives can rustle up a serious opponent to face her — a proposition that is not assured, according to some local observers — Snowe could have real problems in next year’s primary.
The PPP survey was conducted by robocall March 3-6. The Margin of error is 4.7%
Update: Dodge emailed TPM’s Benjy Sarlin in response to the poll today and said the signs looked good for his fledgling campaign:
“Considering I announced about 2 weeks ago I am pleased to see 10%,” he said. “This early poll sends a clear message: it’s time for Snowe to go.”
Additional reporting contributed by Jon Terbush