The Tea Party Likes Olympia Snowe's Lurch To The Right — But Will Other Mainers?

November 03, 2011 11:05 am ET — Jamison Foser

Sen. Olympia Snowe

Public Policy Polling reports that Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe's lurch to the right is winning over Maine GOP primary voters:

In September of 2010, only 29% of Maine GOP voters stood with Snowe, while 63% wanted to replace her with someone more conservative. In March of this year, only 33% of Maine GOP voters stood with Snowe, while 58% wanted to replace her with someone more conservative. After all three of those polls I thought Snowe's prospects for renomination were pretty much shot. 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.

Snowe has spent the past several months embracing far-right economic know-nothingism and killing legislation that would create jobs because it included a small tax increase on 375 Maine millionaires — a tiny portion of taxpayers, but one that might include her — and loudly insisting that somebody else solve the nation's economic problems while abdicating her own responsibility and rejecting basic economic principles she used to acknowledge and peddling balanced-budget snake oil that would plunge the nation into even deeper economic difficulties and pandering to a tiny minority of Maine's financial elite and generally empowering the GOP's lunatic fringe while making a mockery of her reputation as a moderate Republican. So it shouldn't surprise anyone that Snowe's improved standing among Republican primary voters is a result of self-described "very conservative" voters warming to her — or that she's actually become less popular among moderates:

Snowe's approval rating with GOP primary voters is up from 47/44 in March to now 51/37. She's pretty steady with voters describing themselves as 'somewhat conservative' and her popularity has actually declined a little bit with moderates. But she'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).

While Mainers ask "what side" Snowe is on, the answer is increasingly clear: She sides with the far-right Republicans whose votes she craves and with wealthy elites like her. In other words: Olympia Snowe is on Olympia Snowe's side.

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