Alaska poll offers 'glimmer of hope' to Dems in Senate race

McClatchy NewspapersAugust 30, 2010 

WASHINGTON — A poll of Alaska voters finds that tea party favorite Joe Miller is leading Democrat Scott Adams by eight percent in the race to become Alaska's next senator and is ahead of U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski in a 3-way race, if she were to run on the Libertarian ticket — a possibility on Monday that the Libertarians rejected.

The results appear to give Democrats "at least a glimmer of hope in Alaska," Public Policy Polling of North Carolina said, in part because while 53 percent of those surveyed said they had no opinion of McAdams, 52 percent said they had a negative opinion of Miller.

"There's still a lot of uncertainty about what the final candidate field in Alaska will look like," said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling. "But it’s clear this race will be more competitive than anyone ever would have imagined a week ago."

Miller continues to hold a 1,668-vote lead over Murkowski in the Republican primary, with more 23,472 ballots uncounted in the race. The post-election ballot count has proved almost more controversial than the campaign itself, with allegations of ballot-counting monkey business on Miller's side, and the counterclaim by Murkowski that Miller is "paranoid."

McAdams also benefits from a more united party, Debnam wrote. Their poll found that McAdams would land 81 percent of the Democratic vote; in comparison, Miller would land just 73 percent of Republican votes.

The candidates split with independents at 42 percent, which PPP described as "a good number for Democrats in a year where their candidates are largely getting blown out with that group of voters."

The poll also found that Murkowski's approval ratings make her one of the more popular senators in the country. But she does better among Democrats, with 52 percent support. She has just 47 percent of support among Republicans, a number that PPP described as speaking to the trouble she had in last week's primary. Miller is less popular, the poll found. Some 36 percent of voters see him favorably, and 52 percent negatively.

McAdams, the poll found, is still largely unknown, with 53 percent of voters offering no opinion about him.

PPP, which does automated telephone polling, surveyed 1,306 likely voters Friday and Saturday. The margin of error is +/-2.7 percent. Other factors, such as refusal to be interviewed and weighting, may introduce additional error that is more difficult to quantify.

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