Nightmare: Joe Miller’s lead over Lisa Murkowski down to … one point

I wish I could tell you that this is some sort of Democratic internal poll or Zogby. But I can’t.

Alternate headline: “Blogger may require adult diapers on election night.”

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Alaska shows Republican Joe Miller with 35% support and Murkowski, the incumbent senator he defeated in the state’s GOP Primary now running as a write-in candidate, with 34% of the vote. Democrat Scott McAdams runs third with 27%. One percent (1%) prefers another candidate, and three percent (3%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)…

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.

There’s no good news to be had here. For starters, respondents are volunteering Murkowski’s name, not responding to a choice offered by the pollster. Her write-in ads are clearly helping. Beyond that, the two Republicans are doing such a good job of hammering each other that McAdams is right there in the hunt to win. In fact, the margin of error here is 4.5 points; he could theoretically be much closer than he looks. There’s no reason to believe this is an outlier either: On the contrary, Rasmussen’s numbers are virtually identical to the numbers PPP got when it polled this race a few days ago for Daily Kos. Worst of all, in that same Kos poll, PPP measured the favorable ratings for all three candidates. McAdams broke 44/26, mainly because many people haven’t heard of him; Murkowski split 48/46, which isn’t bad given the “sore loser” label she’s been wearing lately. Miller’s numbers, however, are … 35/58. He does much better with self-identified Republicans than Murky does, unsurprisingly, but among independents — and there are a lot of them in Alaska — she beats him by double digits. The ad below may help voters warm up to him a bit, but at this rate, it may take more than a bit.

Just as I’m writing this, a new Club for Growth poll affirms the Rasmussen and dKos numbers. They’ve got it Miller 33, Murkowski 31, McAdams 27, with a margin of error of 4.9 points — which means the race is now effectively a three-way tie. Dude, I’m nervous.