The biggest threat to Baucus might actually be in a primary. Former Governor Brian Schweitzer would lead him 54/35 in a face off. Democratic voters like Baucus (76/18 approval) but he can't match up to Schweitzer's popularity with the party base (86/9 favorability). Schweitzer's up across the ideological spectrum of the party, leading by 34 with 'very liberal' voters, 17 with 'somewhat liberal' ones, and 15 with moderates.Baucus' general election prospects are middling at best, while Schweitzer fares much better in the early matchups. But should we even talk about Schweitzer when he has repeatedly said he has no interest in running for Senate (probably more focused on a 2016 presidential bid)?
Perhaps. Earlier today he posted the PPP poll to his Facebook page, with the headline "Schweitzer stronger than Baucus."
Schweitzer could just be tweaking his political foe. Their hatred for each other runs deep, in large part due to Baucus' role in killing the public option and drug reimportation efforts during the health care debate. There was a famous battle between the two in 2009 after a joint appearance in which Schweitzer endorsed single payer healthcare. Heading up the Senate Finance Committee in 2009, Baucus refused to have any single-payer advocates testify.
Or, Schweitzer may be seriously reconsidering his refusal to consider a Senate bid. The nomination would be his for the taking, it's doubtful Baucus would even stick around for an inglorious primary ass-kicking. He'd quit and hightail it to K Street, where he (unfortunately) belongs.
Let's hope it's the latter, or even better yet, all of the above. Schweitzer would be a huge upgrade over Baucus, and the most electable general election Democrat as well.