More Bad News for GOP in Alaska Poll

Posted May 15, 2008 at 2:34pm

A new poll conducted for the liberal Web site Daily Kos carried more bad news for Congressional Republicans.

The poll found two of Alaska’s GOP titans, Sen. Ted Stevens and Rep. Don Young, trailing in their bids for re-election. Once all-powerful, both legislators have seen their popularity erode as they’ve gotten enmeshed in a wide-ranging scandal involving Alaska Republicans and their relationships with a powerful oil services company. For the first time in decades, Democrats believe they have a real shot at ousting both lawmakers.

In the Senate race, Stevens was trailing the likely Democratic nominee, Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, 48 percent to 43 percent. Young was a full 10 points behind the leading Democratic House candidate, former state House Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz, 50 percent to 40 percent.

The poll of 600 likely voters, conducted by the Maryland-based firm Research 2000 Monday through Wednesday, had a margin of error of 4 points.

In the poll, Young and Stevens had identical favorable/unfavorable ratings: 38 percent favorable and 58 percent unfavorable.

Even in a Republican stronghold such as Alaska, President Bush’s numbers were strikingly similar. According to the poll, 39 percent of Alaskans approved of the job he is doing, while 61 percent disapproved.

In a head-to-head test of the likely presidential nominees, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) led Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), 49 percent to 42 percent. The last Democratic presidential candidate to carry Alaska was Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

Republicans have questioned the legitimacy of the polls that Research 2000 has done for Daily Kos, given the Web site’s unabashedly liberal views. But Research 2000 is an independent polling firm that typically conducts surveys for media outlets.

— Josh Kurtz