Two new polls of the Alaska Senate race, where incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski has stayed in the race as a write-in candidate after she narrowly lost the GOP primary to Tea Part-backed Joe Miller, show that this campaign is anyone’s game. The race originally seemed like a gimme for Miller — but really, at this point it seems like anybody could win.
The new Rasmussen poll: Miller 35%, Murkowski 34%, and Democratic nominee Scott McAdams 27%. The survey of likely voters has a Â±4.5% margin of error. In the previous Rasmussen poll from just under a month ago, Miller had a much stronger lead with 42%, Murkowski at 27%, and McAdams with 25%.
The pollster’s analysis explains Rasmussen’s approach to surveying this very unusual race: “Polling for write-in campaigns is always challenging, so results should be interpreted with caution. For this survey, Rasmussen Reports asked respondents about a choice between Miller and McAdams without mentioning Murkowski. That is the choice voters will see when they enter the voting booth. However, when response options were offered to survey respondents, Murkowski’s name was mentioned.”Another poll from the Club For Growth, conducted by National Research, similarly has Miller at 33%, Murkowski with 31%, and McAdams at 27%. The survey of likely voters has a Â±4.9% margin of error.
This pollster’s methodology was similar to Rasmussen’s: “The question asked was ‘If the election for Senate were held today, for whom would you vote between: (ROTATE) Joe Miller, the Republican; Scott McAdams, the Democrat or another candidate?’ (If a choice was made, the respondent was asked: ‘Would that be definitely, or just probably?’ Those who were undecided were asked ‘Who are you leaning toward?’) The question was asked this way to simulate the choice voters would face in the polling booth.”
The TPM Poll Average gives Miller 34.5%, Murkowski 33.1%, and McAdams 27.5%.
This post has been edited since its original publication.