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July 30, 2008

Don't Forget Don Young

Even before his seven-count indictment, Senator Ted Stevens was in serious trouble, with polls showing him trailing his likely Democratic opponent. And while he's not under indictment like Stevens, Republican Rep. Don Young faces the fight of his political life as well, a new poll from a Democratic firm shows.

The Hays Research Survey was conducted 7/24-25 among 404 Alaska adults for a margin of +/- 4.9%, including a subsample of 175 self-identified Republicans for a margin of error of +/- 7.4%. Young, Republican primary opponent Sean Parnell and former House Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz, a Democrat, were tested in the House race.

General Election Matchup
Berkowitz.........33
Parnell...............30

Primary Election Matchup
Parnell...............46
Young...............42

A sample size of 175 is too small to use for drawing conclusions, but many Alaska Republicans and independent political observers think Young is in more danger of losing his primary than Stevens, as I wrote a few weeks back. Young's opponent, Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell, is associated with the state's most popular politician, Governor Sarah Palin, and is seen as an outsider to the scandal-plagued Republican Party.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has offered overt backing to Berkowitz even though he still faces his own primary against 2006 nominee Diane Benson. Even if Berkowitz cruises through his own primary, Democrats hate the prospect of facing the popular Parnell instead of the unpopular Young. Just 41% of Alaskans view Young favorably, while 56% see him unfavorably.