Democrats Lead Long-time Republican Incumbents in Alaska

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According to the most recent poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind, the Democratic Mayor of Anchorage and the former Minority Leader in the state’s House of Representatives lead the Republican incumbents in races for the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.

In the U.S. Senate race, Mayor Mark Begich has the edge over Senator Ted Stevens by four points when “leaners” are included, 47%-43%. Without leaners, the Begich lead is six points, 45%-39%. Nonetheless, the Begich lead is within the margin of error of the survey. 

Stevens is running sluggishly among his Republican base where only two-thirds (67%) support him.  In addition, Stevens runs ahead of Begich by 5:4 among male voters but Begich leads among female voters by a margin of 53%-36%. 

“The historical race for the presidency this year, which involves the Republican governor of Alaska, is echoed by historical challenges to Alaska’s long-time Republican incumbents,” said Peter Woolley, professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University and director of the poll. “Alaskan politics is on the map of the lower 48,” he added.

At the same time, in the race for the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrat Ethan Berkowitz, who lost to the Palin/Parnell ticket two years ago, leads Republican incumbent U.S. Representative Don Young by 47-41% with “leaners” included in the race for the state’s at-large district.  Without leaners the Berkowitz lead is 46%-39%. Just three in five Republicans say if the election were held today they would vote for Young.  The candidates face a gender gap almost identical to that of the Senate race: Young leads among men by 10 points but Berkowitz leads among women by 22 points.

“These are not seats the national Republicans wanted to defend in a year that has been difficult for Republicans elsewhere,” said Woolley.

The Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of 601 randomly selected likely voters statewide in Alaska was conducted by telephone from September 17 through September 21 and has a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.

Contacts: Peter Woolley 973.670.3239 Dan Cassino 973.896.7072

For more information, please call (973) 443-8661.

Copyright © 2008, Fairleigh Dickinson University. All rights reserved. FDU PublicMind Poll [Latest update 080923]