ME-Sen: Snowe at Risk in Primary, but Cruises in General

Public Policy Polling (PDF) (3/3-6, “usual” Maine Republican primary voters, no trendlines):

Olympia Snowe (R-inc): 43

Scott D’Amboise (R): 18

Andrew Ian Dodge (R): 10

Undecided: 28

Olympia Snowe (R-inc): 33

Republican Jesus (R): 58

Undecided: 9

(MoE: ±4.7%)

I agree with Tom: These numbers are not good for Snowe, not at all. D’Amboise and Dodge are truly at Some Dude levels, with only 5% and 2% (two percent!) favorables respectively, and yet the incumbent manages to score only 43% of primary voters. Moreover, as Tom reminds us, “Lisa Murkowski’s approval with Republicans in January of 2010 was 77/13 and Mike Castle’s in March of 2009 at an identical point in the cycle was 69/24.” As I’ve been saying all along, if the Tea Party Express or the Club for Growth throws down here, Snowe is in a heap of trouble. (By the way, “Republican Jesus” is the technical term for what PPP calls “a more conservative challenger.”)

This is all very poignant for Snowe, because, look:

Public Policy Polling (PDF) (3/3-6, Maine voters, no trendlines):

Emily Cain (D): 20

Olympia Snowe (R-inc): 64

Undecided: 16

Rosa Scarcelli (D): 18

Olympia Snowe (R-inc): 66

Undecided: 17

Emily Cain (D): 33

Scott D’Amboise (R): 33

Undecided: 34

Rosa Scarcelli (D): 29

Scott D’Amboise (R): 36

Undecided: 35

Emily Cain (D): 32

Andrew Ian Dodge (R): 30

Undecided: 37

Rosa Scarcelli (D): 29

Andrew Ian Dodge (R): 33

Undecided: 38

(MoE: ±2.8%)

Those are some massive numbers for an incumbent in a swing state. And note the crossover appeal – Emily Cain, for instance, does 13 points better against the nobodies (fellow nobodies?) than she does against Snowe. Yet Snowe might not even get the chance to have this fight. But like Yoda said, there is another….

Emily Cain (D): 17

Scott D’Amboise (R): 21

Olympia Snowe (I): 54

Undecided: 7

Rosa Scarcelli (D): 15

Scott D’Amboise (R): 20

Olympia Snowe (I): 56

Undecided: 9

Emily Cain (D): 15

Andrew Ian Dodge (R): 19

Olympia Snowe (I): 56

Undecided: 10

Rosa Scarcelli (D): 13

Andrew Ian Dodge (R): 19

Olympia Snowe (I): 57

Undecided: 10

(MoE: ±2.8%)

In this hypothetical scenario where Snowe runs as an independent, she also posts huge numbers, peeling from both sides. I’ll turn it over to Tom once more to provide the closing words:

If Snowe continues on as a Republican this is a race that an ambitious Democrat who doesn’t have a ton to lose should really look at. Obviously if Snowe emerges as the Republican nominee you’re going to lose and you’re going to lose by a lot. If Snowe ends up running as an independent you’re probably going to lose and you’re probably going to lose by a lot. But if Snowe stays the course and gets taken out you might become Chris Coons – a guy who was willing to throw his name in the hat when it looked impossible and ended up coasting to an easy general election victory.

For Snowe there’s a hard route to reelection and an easy one – it’ll be interesting to see if she sticks with the hard one.

42 thoughts on “ME-Sen: Snowe at Risk in Primary, but Cruises in General”

  1. Kohl, Whitehouse, Casey and others are under 50% in a blue/purple states while Snowe is at +60% in a GE match?

    No I don’t go by the old saw of being under 50% in the polls and being an incumbent means you lose.  All I am saying is that 20 months ahead of an election an incumbent under 50% is troubling for that party.  

    An incumbent has name recognition, clout, accomplishments to point and yet most polls here show incumbents are polling poorly.  

  2. Or can Olympia Snowe do next year what Joe Lieberman did in 2006?

    If she can, then she’s set. But if not, and there is a “Sore Loser Law” preventing Snowe from turning Indie should she lose the GOP primary, might she think of going past the Maine GOP now?

  3. Olympia Snowe has been in politics most of her adult life and has NEVER (seriously, ever) lost a race. It would be kinda hilarious (and sad) if the first one she did lose was a primary.

    Go indie, Olympia! Do it for Maine and America!

  4. Obviously, they were going to be getting nuked by Snowe in general election matchups, but I’m amazed that Scarcelli and Cain are so weak against D’Amboise/Dodge. Scarcelli’s negatives probably come from that op-research scandal in the governorship race, but if she could get over that I would have thought her businesswoman profile would be better than the “establishment politician” image of Cain (like Libby Mitchell). Though Cain sounds as sceptical about a run, making the same “maybe if Snowe is primaried” noises that Scarcelli made:

    I’d maybe assume that third that Dodge/D’Amboise and the third Cain/Scarcelli each get is partisan base support, and Maine’s lean should theoretically deliver most of the remaining third for Cain/Scarcelli, but with Maine’s indie streak you never know. With Dems playing so much defense and needing this seat, I’m wondering if they should just recruit Michaud. Even if Snowe winds up the nominee or goes Indie, he’s probably got a better shot against her than any other potential Dem in the state. Others have suggested the Dems recruit Eliot Cutler, but I’d suspect he’d lose his appeal if he wasn’t an Independent anymore.

  5. Since this election could change the balance of power in the US Senate from the Dems to the GOP, especially with so many more Dem seats up for reelection, wouldn’t it be ironic if Snowe ended up running as a Dem or Independent and was able to be the deciding vote between GOP and Dem control of the Senate, for example, if, after the election, it was 50 GOP seats, 49 Dem seats (including Sanders), Snowe goes with the Dems and Biden cast the deciding tie breaker.  I know that the leadership would have to set up the committees with an almost equal amount from each party, and etc., but, still the irony of it all is so wonderful.  

  6. Do good lawyers say “don’t ask a question unless you already know the answer?”

    I’m going to take a wild guess and suggest that’s the reason for the people who were named in this poll.


    1) Snowe is more popular than Collins

    2) Collins beat another rep in another Pres year (’08)

    3) Snowe should beat either Michaud or Pingree handily, even with President Obama atop the ’12 ticket.

    If such numbers (Snowe/Michaud, Snowe/Pingree) were published, our strongest candidates (and their supporters) would be discouraged.

    Wilder guess: Michaud already has an internal showing him losing handily to Snowe — and paid PPP for these specific questions to try to shift the narrative.

    Instead, he commissioned this PPP poll (perhaps through a 3rd party) —

    A) Showing our 2nd tier candidates v. Snowe — even poor results there would not discourage Michaud or Pingree

    B) Showing Snowe v. Tea Party types should give Michaud/Pingree hope

    C) Showing Tea Party types v. our 2nd tier candidates in an even race would give Michaud/Pingree additional hope.

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