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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

AK-Gov: What's Going on Here?

Posted by DavidNYC

A new poll from a Republican outfit (Dittman Research) in Alaska (voters, no trendlines):

Knowles (D): 29
Palin (R): 46
Halcro (I): 3
Undecided: 22
(MoE: ±4.4)

Sorry, no link - I got this one via PollingReport. Anyhow, Dittman is, as I say, a GOP firm, but their poll of the Republican primary was pretty accurate. They had it Palin-Binkley-Murkowski at 40-29-17. Actual results: 51-30-19, clearly with most of the undecideds breaking for Palin. So I'm not ready to write them off just because of their partisan bent - or even because the firm was recently raided as part of an FBI corruption investigation. (Allegedly, Dittman is not a target.)

So anyhow, what's going on here? I was initially very excited about the prospect of Tony Knowles getting into the race - despite his narrow loss in 2004 for AK-Sen, he's really the one marquee Democratic name in Alaska. Of course, the possibility of a matchup against incumbent Frank Murkowski was extremely appealing, but I figured Knowles would have a great shot no matter who his opponent was. Unfortunately, an earlier Rasmussen poll showed TK trailing Palin 51-38, and this latest survey is even more depressing.

One native Alaskan over on DailyKos told me that Knowles has been lying low, hoarding his bullets until after Labor Day. But Knowles probably has close to 100% name recognition, so I'm not really sure how much sense this strategy makes. The modern political playbook says you want to define your opponent negatively as early as possible, especially if you are the incumbent. While there is no incumbent now in this suddenly open-seat race, Knowles certainly has the stature of one.

According to this survey, the battleground is among independents, where Palin leads 44-24. (Both candidates have firm support among members of their own party, but this obviously isn't nearly good enough for Knowles in deep-red Alaska.) If Palin retains her "squeaky clean" image, then it seems like it'll be hard for Knowles to make many inroads. And every week he waits, the harder to gets to drive up her negatives. I only hope that he's got some good oppo on her - and that he's planning a media blitz right away.

Posted at 01:47 PM in 2006 Elections - State, Alaska | Technorati

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Young and attractive candidates seem to get a "face value" advantage at the polls. Palin seems to be benefitting from it the same way Stephanie Herseth did in South Dakota. It's a pretty consistent intangible benefit.....and a potential trouble spot for Patty Wetterling facing the attractive wingnut Michele Bachmann in MN-06.

Posted by: Mark [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 6, 2006 02:39 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I always thought that Knowles would lose unless Murkowski won the primary. He always trailed the other 2 Republicans, even when nobody knew them.

When he won the governorship, the Republican party was divided---they're not anymore.

Posted by: bosdcla14 [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 7, 2006 12:11 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment