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Poll: Sarah Palin top choice among Alaska Republicans for Senate

sarahpalinheader2Alaska should be a top tier pick up opportunity for Senate Republicans next year, but their top choice of a candidate is Sarah Palin, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey.

Thirty-six percent of GOP primary voters in the state say they’d like Palin to be their standard bearer against Mark Begich to 26 percent for Mead Treadwell, 15 percent for Dan Sullivan, and 12 percent for Joe Miller. Palin leads mostly based on her strength with very conservative voters, where she gets 43 percent to 20 percent for Treadwell, but she also leads him 28/25 with moderates.

The problem for Republicans with a Palin candidacy is that even though she is in good standing with the party base, voters overall don’t like her at all. She has a 39/58 favorability rating, including 33/64 with key independent voters. There’s a lot of division about how strong her ties to the state even are anymore – only 47 percent of voters consider her to still be an Alaskan while 46 percent don’t, and 37 percent of voters in the state think it would be more appropriate for her to run for the Senate from Arizona to 41 percent who say Alaska.

It all adds up to a 52/40 lead for Begich in a hypothetical match up with Palin. He leads by 21 points with independents, 56/35, and takes 20% of the Republican vote. It’s a slight improvement for Palin from February when we found her trailing Begich 54/38, but she’s very much in a hole.

The best Republican hope for this seat is Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and the good news for the GOP is that if Palin sits it out he, and not 2010 nominee Joe Miller, is the next choice of the party base. In a three way primary Treadwell gets 33 percent to 25 percent for Sullivan and 24 percent for Miller. And in a head to head with Miller, Treadwell leads 53/30. Even among Republican primary voters Miller has a dreadful 26/53 favorability rating.

Treadwell still trails Begich, but only by a 44/40 margin. That’s narrowed from 47/39 on our February poll. Treadwell has a +6 favorability rating at 35/29 and has room to grow with 36% of voters still not knowing enough about him to have formed an opinion.

Alaskans are closely divided on Begich with 42 percent approving and 41 percent disapproving of him. Begich’s biggest complication though is probably how voters in the state feel about Barack Obama – just 39 percent approve of the job he’s doing to 57 percent who disapprove. Begich does lead Sullivan (46/39) and Miller (55/32) should either of them slip through the primary.

This analysis is also available online: http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2013/07/palin-top-pick-of-alaska-republicans.html

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