Senate 2014 – Begich v. Palin?!
Here’s a little bright spot for Alaska Democrats.
I know, right? How often to you hear THAT?
Harper Polling, a Republican-leaning outfit, has done a survey in Alaska of 1157 likely voters. They asked about hypothetical match-ups in the 2014 senate race, in which giddy Republicans are lining up to take on freshman Democratic Senator Mark Begich. The poll was taken on January 29 – 30.
After Begich’s narrow win in 2008 over Senator Ted Stevens, who at the time was a 7-time convicted felon, the right has had their knickers in a twist over the “illegitimacy” of Begich’s win. Despite his popularity as Anchorage mayor, many Republicans (including Palin) called for him to step down once Stevens’ case was thrown out due to prosecutorial misconduct. The right maintained that this was the same thing as innocence, and that Begich would have lost, had the “truth” been known. Nice try.
So how did Begich fare?
Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell, has formed an exploratory committee, and is considered one of the most likely to get in the ring next year.
Begich leads the Lite Gov 44% to 34%.
Then there’s Tea Party favorite Joe Miller, the 2010 Republican Senate nominee who lost to incumbent Lisa Murkowski, whom he’d trounced in the primary, in a history-making write-in campaign. Miller has a strong and devoted following who are itching to see him go another round.
Begich leads Miller 52% to 29%.
And, I know what you’re all thinking. What if Sarah Palin ran? First, nobody’s really even sure if she’s still a legal resident of the state. She’s laying low, and has new digs in Arizona. It would be fun to know, but surely they didn’t ask the question. Actually, surely they did.
In what may be the most horrifying result, the current Senator leads the ex-half-governor 47% to 40%. Yes, he’s leading, but the fact that any poll, no matter how right-leaning, has Palin with 40% sends a big Alaskan chill up the collective spine of sane people.
The poll shows Begich has decent approval ratings, with 48% of those polled approving of his performance, and 39% who disapprove. Treadwell may still have the best chance of the three, since 40% of voters have no opinion of him – either not knowing who he is, or because it’s difficult to have an opinion of someone who really doesn’t have many duties.
Governor Sean Parnell may throw his hat in this ring. If that happens, Treadwell says he won’t run. And Harper didn’t poll that match-up.
So, don’t get complacent yet. Or ever. It’s still likely to be a tough race, but the news could be worse. And that’s what passes for good news in Blue Alaska these days.