Alaska Senate Seat May Be In Play

by Jonathan Chait | August 30, 2010

Alaska is a very Republican state, and 2010 is a very Republican year, but Alaska Republican Senate nominee Joe Miller is a very unpopular guy:

Miller leads Scott McAdams 47-39. McAdams is counteracting several of the trends causing Democrats trouble across the country this year. He's running even with independents at 42% and he's benefiting from a more unified party, getting 81% of the Democratic vote while just 73% of Republicans are committed to Miller. In most states that equation would be enough for the lead but in Alaska, where there's an 18 point Republican party identification advantage, it leaves McAdams running behind.

The reason for the closeness of the race is Miller's unpopularity. 52% of voters in the state have an unfavorable opinion of while only 36% see him positively. Democrats (84%) are almost universal in their dislike of him and independents array strongly against him as well by a 54/32 margin. His poll numbers within his own party are positive but somewhat tepid at 57/32.

It probably doesn't help that Miller is saying that Medicare and Social Security violate the Constitution:

“BOB SCHIEFFER: You have also taken some fairly controversial, some would say, very extreme positions. First, you say you want to phase out Medicare. You want to privatize Social Security. I have to say there are a lot of people in Alaska who are-- are on Medicare and are getting Social Security. Isn't that position going to be a problem for you in the election, in this general election?
JOE MILLER: Well, yeah, and I would suggest to you that if one thing said the constitution is extreme then you would also think that the founders are extreme. We just simply want to get back to basics, get-- restore essentially the constitutional foundation of the country, and that means the federal government becoming less onerous, less involved in every-- basically every item of our lives. And what that means is there does have to be some transition.”

If Lisa Murkowski runs as an independent write-in, things could get wild.

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/jonathan-chait/77314/alaska-senate-seat-may-be-in-play