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August 15, 2008

AK: Another Young Lead

Two scandal-plagued Alaska incumbents are holding onto their lead in a new poll, conducted just two weeks before the state's primary. With both Rep. Don Young and Senator Ted Stevens leading the GOP fields, Democrats are holding out hope they can pick up both seats.

The poll, conducted by Ivan Moore Research for KTUU-TV, KENI-AM and the Anchorage Press and Frontiersman, surveyed 501 registered voters between 8/9-12 for a margin of error of +/- 4.4%. In the House contest, Young, Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell and State Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux were tested on the GOP side, while former State Rep. Ethan Berkowitz, 2006 nominee Diane Benson and frequent candidate Don Wright were tested on the Democratic side. Wright is also tested as an independent candidate on the general election ballots.

Primary Election Matchups
Young..................46 (no change from last, 7/22)
Parnell..................40 (+2)
LeDoux..................7 (+1)

Berkowitz.............58 (+4)
Benson.................24 (-1)
Wright.....................3 (-2)

General Election Matchups
Berkowitz.............51 (-1)
Young...................41 (+4)
Wright.....................4 (-3)

Parnell...................46 (+3)
Berkowitz.............42 (+2)
Wright.....................3 (-2)

In the Senate contest, Stevens is tested against former State Rep. Dave Cuddy, businessman Vic Vickers and minor candidates who don't earn more than a few supporters. The likely Democratic nominee, Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, was tested in the general election, along with independent candidate Bob Bird and Libertarian Fredrick Haase.

Primary Election Matchup
Stevens................63 (+4 from last, 7/31)
Cuddy...................20 (+1)
Vickers...................7 (no trend)
Other......................3

General Election Matchup
Begich..................56 (no change)
Stevens................39 (+4)
Bird.........................2 (no trend)
Hasse....................-- (no trend)

Despite television advertising, Cuddy and Vickers have not made up any ground on Stevens, even as Parnell makes his move against Young. With an ethics cloud hanging over both Young and Stevens, though, it's no wonder Washington Republicans have started talking up Parnell and pointing out that Stevens could drop out of the race after winning the primary.

The real question Republicans in both Alaska and Washington have yet to answer is who would replace Stevens on the ballot. Amid an ongoing house-cleaning of the state GOP, led by Governor Sarah Palin, the Republican bench is weak at the moment. Parnell has ruled out running for the upper chamber, as has Palin. Against Stevens or any other remaining Republican, Begich looks like he has a big lead.