A new poll of the Alaska Senate race from Craciun Research gives Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who is running as a write-in candidate after she lost the Republican primary to Tea Party-backed lawyer Joe Miller, a strong lead in her newly-constituted campaign.
The numbers: Murkowski 41%, Miller 30%, and Democratic nominee Scott McAdams 19%. The survey of likely voters has a Â±5.7% margin of error. There is no prior Craciun survey of this race for direct comparison.
The poll's internals show Murkowski splitting voters who identify as "somewhat conservative" with Miller, while Miller dominates among "very conservative" respondents. Meanwhile, Murkowski wins a majority of moderates, the single largest group -- and even takes a third of self-identified liberals, who are choosing her over the Dem nominee in an apparent case of tactical voting to stop Miller.
As Nate Silver points out, this poll listed Murkowski as a choice for voters, though in fact they will have to write in her name on the ballot. (Alaska law applies a liberal standard for ascertaining the intent of the voter -- thus, a vote for her would still be counted even if her name is somewhat misspelled.) By contrast, Rasmussen has taken the opposite approach by not listing her in the initial question, and allowing respondents to voluntarily give her name --Â and Rasmussen has shown her polling further behind. It is not clear what method is better for this highly unusual race.