Poll Shows Miller With Big Lead Over Murkowski

Poll Shows Miller With Big Lead Over Murkowski

By Scott Conroy - September 21, 2010

A new Rasmussen Reports poll shows Alaska Republican Senate nominee Joe Miller with a surprisingly comfortable lead over incumbent and write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski.

In the poll, Miller had the support of 42 percent of Alaska voters, while Murkowski was just slightly ahead of Democratic nominee Scott McAdams with 27 percent. McAdams finished in third place with 25 percent.

The survey of 500 likely voters in Alaska was conducted on Sunday, two days after Murkowski announced her write-in bid following her defeat in the Republican primary to Miller. The poll had a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percent.

The poll suggests that Murkowski may be splitting the independent and Democratic vote with McAdams, while the tea party and Sarah Palin-backed Miller has consolidated support among conservatives.

After Miller's surprising victory in the Republican primary, an August Rasmussen poll showed him with only a slight lead of 50 percent to 44 percent in a two-way race against McAdams.

Since announcing her write-in candidacy, Murkowski has made overt efforts to court independents and Democrats, hoping that the largely unknown McAdams would become marginalized. But the Rasmussen poll's results cast some doubt upon the effectiveness of that strategy to date.

In the new poll, Murkowski's favorability rating among likely voters stood at 55 percent, while Miller's was at 45 percent. However, the generally popular incumbent senator does not yet seem to have inspired the enthusiasm among her voters that Miller has among his.

Still, Alaska polling data has been inconsistent throughout the election cycle, and Murkowski continues to enjoy strong name recognition and an estimated $1 million campaign war chest that will likely make her a viable candidate going into November, in spite of the inherent challenges that a write-in campaign poses.

Murkowski's general election campaign got off to a rocky start on Monday when it aired a web advertisement that featured a misspelling of her name.

Murkowski is expected to launch a major television and radio advertising blitz in the coming days to educate voters on the proper procedure for writing her name in on the ballot.

A Murkowski spokesman said on Sunday that the senator has been invited to three debates, and she is expected to accept at least one invitation to square off against Miller and McAdams.

Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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