Friday, October 29, 2010

Union poll finds Republican Joe Miller in trouble in Alaska Senate campaign; nevertheless, Miller appears to be in trouble

Republican Joe Miller is in real trouble in Alaska’s Senate race, after a series of missteps has opened the door for a write-in challenge from Sen. Lisa Murkowski and maybe even Democrat Scott McAdams.

Miller rallied supporters Thursday night in Anchorage at a rally with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her husband Todd, seeking to reenergize his campaign. Palin called Murkowski an “out of touch liberal” and said the Republican’s questioning of Miller’s qualifications was “beyond shameful.”

But a poll out Thursday showed Murkowski ahead of Miller 34 to 23 percent, with the Democrat McAdams at 29 percent. A second poll released by a political action committee supporting Murkowski showed her up 43 to 29 percent over Miller.

“Our campaign is not concerned with the polls,” Miller spokesman Randy DeSoto told TheDC. “The dynamics of this election are very unique so you’ve seen some pretty wild variations on the data. Regardless of the polling, we’re running the campaign the way we need to in order to win.”

Miller supporters dismissed the poll as unreliable, and Nate Silver of the New York Times agreed that a union-sponsored poll could not be viewed as dependable.

The Murkowski campaign also agreed that polling can be erratic in Alaska, though they and others pointed out that most polling does not usually survey the state’s many rural villages, which are made up mostly of Alaska Native Eskimos and Native Americans, are strongly supporting Murkowski.

Nonetheless, in conversations with several people in Alaska and in Washington, it was clear there has been a dramatic turnaround from earlier this fall, when Miller was thought by most to be a lock for the next senator from Alaska. But in the last few weeks, he has been badly damaged by a string of mishaps and disclosures.

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