The "extreme" mainstream

I was struck this morning by this line from a Nation editorial on "The Extremist GOP":

Even so, Florida's Charlie Crist, Alaska's Lisa Murkowski and Rhode Island's Lincoln Chafee remained Republicans in good standing. This year, all three are running insurgent independent campaigns against a GOP that has folded Ronald Reagan's "big tent."
So, the Naton implies that Crist, Murkowski and Chafee represent the mainstream, and their Republican opponents are relegated to the fringes of popular opinion.

U.S. Senate race - Florida
St. Petersburg Times poll
Conducted 10/15 - 10/19
Marco Rubio (R) 41%
Charlie Crist (I) 26%
Kendrick Meek (D) 20%

U.S. Senate race - Alaska
Daily Kos/PPP (D)
Conducted 10/9 - 10/10
Joe Miller (R) 35%
Lisa Murkowski (I) 33%
Scott McAdams (D) 26%

Rhode Island gubernatorial race
Brown University
Conducted 9/27 - 9/29
Frank Caprio (D) 30%
Lincoln Chafee 23%
John Robitaille 14%

So, the only former Republican-turned-independent who leads his "extreme" Republican opponent is Lincoln Chafee, who's running in a race where the Obama agenda is not an issue and in a state where John McCain got just 35%. And he's still losing.

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