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We haven’t really done enough looking at the Alaska Senate race but a new poll by Public Policy Polling has opened our eyes a bit in regards to the pulse of the race. Mark Begich is perhaps one of the must vulnerable Democrats in the country thanks to his razor-thin win over longtime Sen. Ted Stevens who was mired in an ethics investigation back in 2008.
In case you didn’t remember, 2008 was a banner year for the Democrats and the fact that Begich barely won his race and represents a red state, makes him a big target for the Republicans. So far, though; Begich is still leading the field as he has done a pretty solid job at representing his state.
Nonetheless, here how Mark Begich does against a slate of potential Republican challengers.
- vs. Sarah Palin, Begich is up 52% to 40%.
- vs. 2010 nominee Joe Miller, Begich is up 55% to 32%
- vs. Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell, Begich trails 40% to 44%
- vs. Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan, Begich trails 39% to 46%
Now, listen to me. Sarah Palin will probably never run for electoral office ever again and if she does it’ll be a weird, quixotic and vanity campaign for President. She always teases herself as a potential candidate to keep her name in the news and drive up the asking price for her on the lecture circuit.
Joe Miller is in the race but the bad news for Begich is that in a hypothetical three-way primary with Treadwell and Sullivan he lags in third with 24% (behind Sullivan’s 25% and Treadwell’s 33%) and gets dominated by Treadwell in a one-on-one race.
Mark Begich though, as DailyKos Elections accurately states, is a very talented politician that you can never count out. But the fact is his approval rating has slipped to a troubling 42% (down from 49% in February) and he is really going to need to play defensive being a Democrat in a red state.
Still, some good news is that Treadwell is the only announced candidate other than Miller (though Sullivan could make the jump) and primaries can turn savage fairly quickly. Begich also has nearly $2 million in the bank and will definitely receive assistance from the DSCC so he’ll have the money edge as well as the advantage of the incumbency. Alaska is also a very cheap state to play in and highly rural meaning that sometimes it might be hard to get an accurate poll out of there, though that might work more against Begich than for him.
There is plenty of time though but this poll is accurate in suggesting that this race will be a close one.