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« Is AK A First-Tier Race? | Blog Home Page | Good News For NY GOP »

To Be Young And In Trouble

As the scandal surrounding VECO Corp. threatens to take down the biggest fish in the state, Senator Ted Stevens, Democrats are also optimistic about their chances to beat Alaska's lone congressman, Republican Don Young. Young has been in office for seventeen full terms, but his bid for an eighteenth could fall short thanks to the problems state Republicans have faced.

The poll, conducted by independent pollster Research 2000 for DailyKos, was conducted 5/12-14 among 600 likely voters for a margin of error of +/- 4%. Young and former State Rep. Ethan Berkowitz, who leads the Democratic primary, were tested. The survey sample was 32% Republican, 20% Democratic and 48% independent or otherwise affiliated.

General Election Matchup
(All / Dem / GOP / Ind / Men / Wom)
Berkowitz 50 / 85 / 18 / 57 / 46 / 54
Young 40 / 6 / 71 / 34 / 45 / 35

If Young is the Republican nominee in November, it is unlikely Republicans will be able to save his seat. Just 38% of Alaskans view him favorably, while 58% say they have an unfavorable impression of him. On the other hand, Berkowitz, the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor in 2006, is seen in a favorable light by 49% of voters, compared with 23% who think of him unfavorably.

For the GOP, though, there may be hope. Faced with a highly unpopular governor running for re-election in 2006, Alaska Republicans instead nominated a reformist candidate who beat a popular Democrat. Young, too, faces the prospect of losing his primary fight after Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell made his surprise entry into the race last month. State Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux is also running for the Republican nod, and should either score an upset in the August 26 primary, their party might have a much better chance at holding the seat come November.

Berkowitz faces Diane Benson, an activist who has run for several offices before, including against Young, in the Democratic primary. Benson trailed Young by a 57%-40% margin in 2006, though that was the slimmest margin by which the incumbent won since 1994.