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« Franken Wins DFL Nod | Blog Home Page | Daniels Up Post-Primary »

Poll Has AK Dems Up

A new survey taken for an independent group shows Senator Ted Stevens and Rep. Don Young, both long-time Republican incumbents, trailing in their bids for re-election, thanks in large part to a scandal involving an oil services corporation that has already ensnared several GOP state legislatures. The poll has good news for Democrats, though in Young's case the party may not get the opportunity to make their case.

The poll, conducted by Hellenthal and Associates for lobbyist Sam Kito, surveyed 269 likely voters between 5/6-10 for a margin of error of +/- 6%. In the Senate contest, Stevens and Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich were tested. In the House race, Young, Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell, a Republican, and former House Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz, the likely Democratic nominee, were included. 27% of respondents were registered Republicans, while 22% were registered Democrats, and the remaining 51% were unregistered.

General Election Matchups
Begich..........51
Stevens........44

Berkowitz.....58
Young...........38

Parnell...........43
Berkowitz.....38

Stevens has yet to attract a credible challenger in the Senate GOP primary, giving Democrats a flawed Republican to run against. But Parnell's surprise entry into the Republican primary against Young could throw a cog in the works. Parnell leads Young in a hypothetical primary matchup by a small margin (the sample, though, is so small that the margin of error would make results virtually meaningless), and if he wins the primary, the significant anti-Young vote would be free to head back to the new Republican nominee in November.

The disparity in the Senate contest is similar to that in the House race. 58% of respondents had a positive view of Begich, the two-term mayor of the state's largest city, while just 16% see him unfavorably. 49% see Stevens favorably, while 40% say they view him unfavorably. The poll is the first of recently released data to show Stevens with a net favorable rating, but just a nine-point gap for a six-term incumbent is not comforting.

In the House race, the story also comes down to favorable ratings. Berkowitz (41% positive, 13% negative), his party's nominee for Lieutenant Governor in 2006, and Parnell (46% positive, 8% negative), the candidate who beat him, each have high favorable-to-unfavorable ratios. Young, on the other hand, is viewed positively by just 35% of those surveyed, and negatively by a whopping 52%.

No wonder, too, that first-term Governor Sarah Palin is generating internet-based buzz about a vice presidential nomination. After ousting fellow Republican Frank Murkowski two years ago, the governor, who had her fifth child in April, enjoys an incredible 82% positive rating, while just 10% don't see her in a good light.