Maine Republicans, led by Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, have a reputation for being pretty moderate. Our newest poll of the state finds that might be changing though- 54% of GOP primary voters support impeaching President Obama to just 32% opposed to the concept. Among voters identifying as 'very conservative'- a plurality of Maine Republicans- there's 74/17 support for impeachment.
The increasing conservatism of the GOP base in Maine could have negative implications for Collins if someone decides to challenge her from the right in a primary. 48% of Republican voters say they'd support someone 'more conservative' to 47% who would favor Collins if she was challenged from the right. The good news for Collins is that there isn't anyone terribly well known lined up to do that- she would lead Bruce Poliquin (who announced after we had conducted the poll that he was running for the House) 64/24 in a hypothetical match up. But if national Tea Party groups decide to target her she could be in trouble.
Voters overall- and Republicans themselves- are divided on whether Collins really belongs in the GOP. 34% think she does, but 33% think she should be an independent and 20% think she should be a Democrat. Only 36% of GOP voters think she belongs in their party compared to 27% who think she ought to be an independent and 24% who believe she should be a Democrat.
The good news for Collins is that if she is the Republican nominee for Senate she's in very good shape. She's one of the most popular Senators in the country, sporting a 57/31 approval rating, and she accomplishes the rare feat of being over 50% approval with Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike. She leads all three people we tested against her by at least 20 points- it's 53/33 against independent Eliot Cutler, 57/34 over Democrat Chellie Pingree, and 54/31 over Democrat Stephen King. We tested the author King to see if a Democratic celebrity might be able to overcome Collins' popularity, but that's not the case for King despite a solid 45/23 favorability rating.
Other notes from Maine:
-Mainers think that marijuana usage should be legal in the state by a 48/39 margin. Seniors are opposed to that but every other age group supports it by at least 15 points.
-Angus King is off to a good start in his first year in the Senate, with 51% of voters approving of him to 27% who disapprove. He's very strong with Democrats (71/9) and independents (50/27) but not as much with Republicans (26/49).
-Maine voters think that George Mitchell (29%) is the state's greatest politician of all time followed by Margaret Chase Smith (22%), Edmund Muskie (12%), Olympia Snowe (11%), Hannibal Hamlin and William Cohen (6%), and James Blaine (2%). There seems to be some recency effect with the tw0 19th century politicians faring so poorly. Mitchell is the top choice of Democrats, while Smith wins out among Republicans.
-And finally we posed the important question- would you rather move to the South or move to Canada? Democrats (54/23) would rather move to Canada, while Republicans (39/32) would rather move to the South. Overall it's 44% who would go to Canada to 29% for the Southern US.
Full results here