PPP's newest Maine poll finds that if Susan Collins is the Republican candidate for Senate next year, she'll get reelected. Collins is one of the most popular Senators in the country, with 63% of voters approving of her to 24% who disapprove. She accomplishes the incredibly rare feat in these times of having at least a 60% approval across party lines- she's at 66/24 with Republicans, 64/24 with independents, and 60/25 with Democrats.
Collins would easily dispatch either of her state's members of Congress in a head to head match up. Despite Mike Michaud's own stellar 58/23 favorability rating, Collins would lead him 54/36 in a head to head match up. And Collins' lead over Chellie Pingree would be even more substantial at 58/33. In both contests Collins carries 34% of the Democratic vote and wins independents by more than 20 points.
As Dick Lugar and Lisa Murkowski and Mike Castle have learned in recent years though, being a moderate Republican can give you trouble in a Senate primary. Collins' 66/24 approval spread with GOP voters is well below Murkowski's 77/13 standing at the beginning of 2010- she was defeated in the primary 8 months later. And against a hypothetical 'more conservative' GOP opponent in a primary, Collins leads only 49-46. Voters describing themselves as 'very conservative' would like to replace her by a 75/22 margin. If the Tea Party is looking for a primary target in 2014, Collins probably belongs at the top of the list alongside Georgia's Saxby Chambliss.
Republicans are in good shape here as long as Collins is their candidate- but if she retires or gets primaried it will be just one more step toward a 100% Democratic New England Congressional delegation.
Full results here