The new CNN/Time poll of the Alaska Senate race shows that Tea Partier Joe Miller, the surprise Republican nominee, is still in the lead in this unusual election — but that incumbent Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is running a write-in campaign after she lost the primary, does have a fighting chance of catching him.
The numbers: Miller 38%, Murkowski 36%, and Democratic nominee Scott McAdams 22%. The survey of likely voters has a Â±3% margin of error. There is no prior CNN/Time poll of this race for direct comparison.
A caveat: The question for this poll explicitly included Murkowski’s write-in bid asÂ a choice for voters. Another recent poll from Rasmussen did not include her name — as she would not be on the ballot — but left respondents able to voluntarily name her as their candidate. That poll gave Miller 42%, Murkowski 27% and McAdams 25%.
Is Rasmussen’s method superior, or does this poll better capture the mood of the race given the heavy publicity for Murkowski? The answer is simple: We really don’t know, and won’t until election day, because there hasn’t been a race like this one within living memory.