Is it worth giving her a whuppin’ in the primary if defeat in the general election is highly likely? What would Joe Miller say?
Murkowski’s numbers are a mirror image of that. Her approval among conservatives, who would dominate a GOP primary, is at 27/65. Palin would stomp her. Move to the general electorate, though, and Murkowski’s job approval stands at 51/37. Among moderates it’s 65/20 and among progressives it’s 75/13(!!).
All of which is to say that if these numbers held and Palin started making serious noise circa 2020 about challenging Murkowski in 2022, that in itself might force Murky to bolt the GOP and become a Democrat. It’d be goofy to risk a primary, lose badly, and then have to perform a new magic trick by winning a second write-in campaign. A write-in might not even work with a big name like Palin at the top of the ticket for Republicans. Going independent would be a better option but of course that’s risky too in a two-party system.
The logical thing to do for Murkowski if Palin looks ready to run would be to abandon ship. Which, let’s remember, is something she might be thinking of doing anyway in 2020 or 2022, particularly if the GOP underperforms in the Senate this fall. The tighter the margin in the upper chamber next year, the better the Democrats’ chances are of regaining a majority in the next cycle. Murkowski will face a hard choice over whether to stick with the GOP and be relegated to minority status with the rest of the caucus or to make a deal beforehand with Schumer to cross the aisle in return for guarantees that she’ll keep her committee assignments.
From that perspective, it might not matter whether Palin runs or not. Murky might bolt regardless, clearing a path for Palin in the Republican primary. Then the question for Sarahcuda would be a pure matter of whether she wants to risk statewide defeat or not. Losing always stings, but losing to a RINO in her own home state would be intolerable.
Speaking of how RINOs are polling in the aftermath of the Kavanaughpocalypse, new from Maine:
A 63/33 favorable rating for Susan Collins, the key swing vote for Brett Kavanaugh. Not too shabby. But there’s a wrinkle: This poll was conducted from October 1 through October 7; Collins announced her vote for Kavanaugh on October 5, towards the end of the survey. It’s at least possible that her favorable rating was much higher than +30 in the first few days and then tanked towards the end amid a left-wing backlash to her Kavanaugh position. Although it would have had to have been awfully high to start for a sudden late decline to drive her down to “only” 63 percent favorability.