It seems Olympia Snowe might be more comfortable in a different political party:
This Public Policy Polling survey of Maine isn’t all that surprising: She has a 46/40 disapproval/approval rating from state Republicans. By a whopping 27 points, those same Republicans say they’d back a “conservative challenger” to Snowe in the 2012 GOP primary. Voters who picked the McCain-Palin ticket in 2008 and self-identified conservatives all oppose Snowe and want a challenger; basically everyone else in the state has a more positive view of Snowe, the poll found.
I don’t know whether these results are “surprising” or not, but I think they ought to change our understanding of the prospects of bipartisanship in health reform. This means that when you’re thinking about whether Snowe will support a bill or not, the issue ultimately comes down to not triggers versus non-triggers, or employer mandates versus free rider fees, but whether Snowe wants to remain a Republican or not. Based on this polling, a Snowe who votes for a comprehensive health care overhaul is basically not going to be viable as a GOP primary candidate. Conversely, a Snowe who votes for comprehensive health reform and switches parties would remain a very popular general election candidate with a safe seat.
Incidentally, this poll inspired me to look up who’s important in Maine GOP politics aside from Snow and Susan Collins. Turns out the top Republican in the State Senate is Kevin Raye, who’s also proprietor of Raye’s Mustard Mill, which is one of Maine’s finest food products. I don’t know much about the guy’s politics, but he makes great mustard!