Now that the Tea Party has its boot firmly on the GOP's neck, whither Olympia Snowe (R[INO]-Me.)? For a while it looked like her decades of service in the Senate might be destined for an end in 2012, as Maine voters elected their first Tea Party governor and generally showed signs of disinterest in moderate-ish Republicanism and/or career politicians.
But a new poll shows that Snowe's reelection prospects are sunnier than we thought…
In October of 2009 only 31% of Maine GOP voters stood with Snowe, while 59% wanted to replace her with someone more conservative. [...] But over the last seven months there's been a major transformation, and now 46% of primary voters in the state stand with Snowe compared to only 47% who want to replace her from the right.
Well, well. How'd she get there from here?
[S]he's done a better job over the last half year of wooing the far right voters who classify themselves as being 'very conservative.' They still don't like her but she's improved 23 points on the margin with them from -47 (21/68) to -24 (29/53).
Beyond the fact that she's improved her standing with the far right, she's also benefiting from the fact that the Tea Party just isn't that strong in Maine these days. Only 21% of Republican primary voters in the state identify as members of that movement.
In other words, Olympia Snowe's rightward swing — which has hurt her standing among moderates who've supported her for years — has won her points with the voting bloc du jour, which, it turns out, may not matter much at all! Good job!
Well, if nothing else, the far right has helped Senator Snowe keep her driveway clear in the winter. At least there's that.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Maine, Olympia Snowe, Polls, Republicans, Senate, Tea Party