If this dynamic looks familiar to you, it should. The Alaska race looks a lot like its political analog in Florida, at the opposite end of the continental US, where the establishment candidate went independent and eventually faded. It didn’t take long for Joe Miller to push Lisa Murkowski aside in the latest Rasmussen poll, taken days after Murkowski decided on a write-in campaign:
Republican Joe Miller attracts 42% of the vote in the first Rasmussen Reports poll of the Alaska Senate race since GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski announced her write-in campaign to try to keep her job.
The telephone survey of Likely Voters in Alaska shows Murkowski picking up 27% of the vote and Democrat Scott McAdams earning 25%. One percent (1%) say they’d prefer some other candidate, and five percent (5%) are undecided. …
Miller picks up a solid majority of Republican voters, while McAdams wins most Democrats. Among unaffiliated voters, the three candidates are essentially even.
Miller wins all of the age demos, and all of the income demos. Murkowski and McAdams battle mostly for second place in all of them, trading back and forth. Miller does lose 27% of Republicans to Murkowski while McAdams loses 18% of Democrats to her, while the three almost evenly split independents.
Of course, it’s one thing to tell a pollster that they will cast a vote for Murkowski in a phone poll with the choice provided. It’s quite another to actually bother to write her name onto the ballot on Election Day. If Murkowski’s candidacy doesn’t excite people enough to make the effort, Miller appears to be the beneficiary as Republicans would come back to him rather than switch to McAdams. Voters in Alaska trust Republicans more on the economy than Democrats by a wide margin (51/33), while Barack Obama is seriously underwater at 42/59 (a rounding problem, apparently). That’s not an environment where last-minute deciders will break to McAdams, and potential write-in voters are by definition last-minute deciders.
It’s not over yet, but it doesn’t appear Murkowski is a threat — not to Miller, anyway. More on that later today.