TEABAG MANIA IN MAINE? MAYBE, MAYBE NOT
There's a fair amount of attention being paid right now to this poll:
It looks like Olympia Snowe could have a pretty hard time getting nominated for another term in the Senate as a Republican.
... Asked how they would vote in a primary contest between Snowe and a more conservative challenger, just 31% of likely Republican voters say they would pick Snowe while 59% say they would go for the conservative alternative....
But a word of caution for those ready to celebrate the GOP's self-destructive instincts: this poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling -- the same folks who had some of us believing that Doug Hoffman would win NY-23 by 16 or 17 points.
I see that PPP did a lot better in the New Jersey governor's race, so maybe it was just tough polling a small congressional district. Or, perhaps, gleeful teabaggers are more eager than other people to be polled these days because they just want to get all their political rage off their chests. If it's the latter, the same thing might be showing up in the Maine poll. So, delightful as it would be to see Republicans defeat one of their own, I'm skeptical until I see a few more polls.
UPDATE: He's predicting events a long time in the future, so no one really knows, but I strongly suspect that Chris Bowers is wrong about this:
At the absolute latest, Maine Senator Olympia Snowe will join the Senate Democratic caucus by Tuesday, June 12, 2012. She may not actually register as a Democrat, but she will start caucusing with Democrats by that date--or even earlier.
His reasoning: he thinks she'll certainly be primaried when she's up for reelection in 2012, and, based on this poll, he thinks she can't win that primary -- especially because every major GOP presidential contender that year will need to support her opponent to demonstrate fealty to the right-wing Cause.
That last bit could very well be right -- but we don't know how long this teabag anger is going to be at full boil. I continue to believe that the shrewder big guns behind the teabag/town hall/Beck movement will subtly shift a hair to the left after the 2010 midterms, because winning the midterms requires turning out one motivated voting bloc, while winning a presidential-year election means having at least some appeal to the center. I expect the Murdoch media to lead the slight shift away from the absolute right fringe.
Combine that with the fact that we have no idea how the next three years are going to play out -- will Republicans take over the House in 2010? will any of Obama's big agenda items actually pass? will he be beatable in 2012? will the Democratic Senate majority be in trouble in 2012? and how will Snowe have voted throughout the Obama term? -- we really don't know how angry the base might be at Snowe.
And, of course, there's the possibility that she'll do what Joe Lieberman did -- run and win third-party, then ask to stay in her old party caucus. And I bet the Republicans will take her back.