Thursday, October 14, 2010

Why Murkowski's in it...and Crist is not

Polls we conducted last weekend found that Lisa Murkowski has a real chance to win the Alaska Senate race while Charlie Crist is pretty much done. What's causing their divergent fortunes? Here are some of the reasons:

1) In Alaska independent voter makes up 47% of the electorate, making them the largest voting group in the state. In Florida independents make up only 19% of the electorate, making them the smallest voting group in the state. Crist is actually doing better with independent voters, at 50%, than Murkowski is with them at 38%. But for Murkowski it's a much bigger part of the pot.

2) Murkowski still has some credibility with Republicans while Crist does not. The day Crist left the Republican Party that was it for his popularity with most voters in his old party. Now only 23% of GOP voters approve of the job Crist is doing as Governor and just 14% plan to vote for him this fall. Murkowski's decision to go it alone has certainly hurt her popularity with GOP voters- only 41% approve of her job performance- but the 31% of the Republican vote she's still getting compares very favorably to Crist.

3) The actual GOP nominee in Florida is a considerably stronger candidate than the one in Alaska. Marco Rubio's favorability rating is 45/43, not exactly phenomenal but ahead of the curve in a year when voters aren't responding positively to very many politicians. Joe Miller, on the other hand, is one of the most unpopular candidates anywhere this year at a 35/58 favorability. Republicans are a bit tepid about him and Democrats and independents pretty universally dislike him. If Miller was a more appealing fellow Murkowski might be just as doomed as Crist.

Those are some of the biggest reasons why Murkowski has a real chance while all Crist can do is pray for Kendrick Meek to drop out.


Anonymous said...

So if 58% don't like Miller it would be really bad for the state if he wins. I think polling in Alaska underestimates a lot of conservative votes, a lot of people live in the middle of nowhere and are hard to reach.
I remember that Begich was heavily favored over Stevens in 2008 and he barely won. Same with Young pollster always show his elections closer than reality.
Not sure how that plays out for Miller but I would rather see Murkowski win if we can't get a democrat.

Dale Sheldon-Hess said...


For comparison, what are Murkowski's and McAdams' favorability scores?

@Joel: we can get a Democrat; McAdam's has gained 8 points in the polls in the two weeks since his first TV spot hit. And while Miller would be a rhetorical nightmare, but Murkowski would vote the same way on everything as he would, so the practical advantages are minimal.

wt said...

Well, yes. But also, despite McAdams running some great ads, he's not really viable at this point, so Dems have the tempting option to choose Murkowski over Miller. (See also, Lieberman v. Schlesinger).

Meek in FL has done a great job of holding onto a fraction of the Dem base, which is what is stopping Crist from closing the gap with Rubio.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"For comparison, what are Murkowski's and McAdams' favorability scores?"

44-26 for McAdams and 48-46 for Murkowski.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately it is impossible to calculate the numbers of people that will not bother writing in a name...she's taost as a write in---maybe if she were on the actual ballot.

Unknown said...

In Florida you can find "Charlie Crist" at the bottom of the ballot. In Alaska you have to write "Linda Murjelewski" on the ballot and hope it counts. Or maybe you'll forget she's running. PPP's prompt of "someone else" isn't an explicit question on the ballot.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"Unfortunately it is impossible to calculate the numbers of people that will not bother writing in a name"

Yeah, it's very difficult, and Murkowski's support is still probably overstated, even though we asked a two-part question--the first being if they were voting for McAdams or Miller or someone else, and then the "someone else" voters were asked if they were voting for such and such, some other guy, writing in Murkowski, or writing in someone else. We then combined that question into the first for an aggregate. Murkowski was getting about 95% of the "someone else" people.

Jonny V said...

As a far left liberal (an actual far left liberal, the type that knows Obama is a centrist) I really wish Kendrick Meek would drop out of the Florida race and support Crist.

Marco Rubio is a nut. We can't have him in the Senate.

Meek: Do what's right for the country. Endorse Crist.

Jonny V said...

Also: Scott McAdams is very viable in Alaska. If he can get the Democratic and leaning left voters in Alaska to vote for him instead of tossing away their vote on Lisa M - he will win.

Joe Miller is a lunatic and Lisa M is politics as usual.

Vote Scott McAdams.

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