Nearly a year after she bucked Democrats on health care reform, Maine Republican Olympia Snowe is extremely popular in her home state… among Democrats.
According to new Public Policy Polling data, Snowe’s high 50-40 approval ratings are due mostly to the fact that Democrats love her. Republicans, meanwhile, think she’s basically just a Democrat. By a 50-37 margin, GOP voters say she’d be a better fit in the Democratic party. More than half of Republicans — 51 percent — disapprove of her while 40 percent give her high marks.
The problem for Snowe, if anything, is that though Democrats like her, they think she’s best situated in the GOP. That sets up a hypothetical scenario in 2012 where conservative Republicans run her out of the party, leaving her to run…as an independent. “[H]er chances of being nominated again as a Republican are slim if she gets a half viable challenge from the right,” writes Tom Jensen of PPP.
That’s not out of the question.
The irony is that these numbers closely mimic a similar poll conducted last November, when Snowe’s health care vote was still somewhat in play. Since then she’s been less apt to work with Democrats (though she did support financial reform) and yet she hasn’t ingratiated herself with her own party.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.