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August 11, 2008

Young, Berkowitz Lead

A month before the primary, Alaska Rep. Don Young holds a narrow lead in the Republican nomination battle while former State Rep. Ethan Berkowitz has a big lead on the Democratic side. As Young's popularity plummets, that's the best outcome Democrats can hope for, according to general election matchups.

The survey, conducted by Ivan Moore Research, a Democratic firm that has not worked for Berkowitz this year, polled 505 likely voters between 7/18-22 for a margin of error of +/- 4.4%, with oversamples of 284 who say they will vote in the Democratic primary (+/- 5.8%) and 250 who plan to vote in the Republican primary (+/- 6.2%). The total sample was made up of 31% Republicans, 18% Democrats and 51% others and independents.

Young, Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell and State Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux were tested among the Republican sample, while Berkowitz, 2006 nominee Diane Benson and retiree Don Wright were tested on the Democratic side. Wright was also tested as an independent candidate.

Primary Election Matchups
Young..............46
Parnell..............38
LeDoux..............6

Berkowitz........54
Benson............25
Wright................5

General Election Matchups
Berokwitz........52
Young..............37
Wright................7

Parnell..............43
Berkowitz........40
Wright................5

Positive/Negative View
Berkowitz........50 / 18
Parnell..............47 / 15
Young..............41 / 52
Benson............36 / 17
LeDoux............16 / 15

The same poll showed Democratic Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich leading Republican Senator Ted Stevens by an eight-point margin, just a week before Stevens was indicted on seven felony charges (Moore polled again just after Stevens was indicted, showing Begich's lead growing to 21 points).

The news is not great for Republicans; with Young under his own ethical cloud, Democrats are much more confident in their ability to beat Young than they are in their chances against Parnell. Republicans in Washington have quietly begun pushing Parnell over Young, agreeing with assessments that his chances of saving the seat for Republicans are much better than the incumbent's.

Moore's is the first public poll conducted by a live-call pollster to show Young actually leading Parnell. The pollster is back in the field with a new poll this week, which should be released by Thursday.