The November 2008 general election is more than a year away, but the vultures are circling around Alaska Republican Congressman Don Young. And one of those vultures just dive-bombed Young, according to a recent poll taken by Ivan Moore Research. Full story posted on Politico.com.
The poll, which was actually conducted back in August, but just released this past weekend, shows Young trailing former state Rep. Ethan Berkowitz, 51 percent to 46 percent. Moore said the poll was commissioned by Berkowitz and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Half of the respondents said they had a very negative or somewhat negative opinion of Young — an unusually high number for an incumbent. Berkowitz also had unusually strong support for a first-time congressional candidate. The poll found that 35 percent of respondents were decided Berkowitz voters. The poll surveyed 496 registered Alaska voters and has a margin of error of 4.4 percent.
Congressman Young, who is under investigation by the Justice Department over his ties to oil-field services company Veco Corp., also found himself behind the financial power curve. He spent more than $177,000 on legal fees during the third-quarter fundraising period — more than the $175,000 he brought in. Young has denied any wrongdoing.
The impartiality of Ivan Moore's polls are occasionally questioned by conservatives, but he's proven to be the second most accurate pollster in Alaska, just behind Dave Dittman.
Analysis: The question is, will Berkowitz make it past the Democratic primary in August 2008. He faces two other Democratic opponents - Jake Metcalfe, who has strong ties to organized labor, and Diane Benson, an insurgent "greenie" Democrat who pulled 40 percent of the vote against Young in 2006.
Berkowitz will do well in Anchorage, but it remains to be seen how well his metrosexual image will sell throughout the rest of the state. But for the first time, there is a real chance that Don Young could actually lose an election. If Young loses, I would be less uncomfortable with Berkowitz as a replacement than with Metcalfe or Benson.
Speaking of Ivan Moore, there will be another poll released soon. I just remembered that I participated in an Ivan Moore poll just this past weekend. The pollster asked the typical questions about Ted Stevens and Don Young, and then asked a number of questions about various Alaska industries. Questions included whether or not I thought a given industry was doing enough to hire & train Alaska workers. The pollster was absolutely professional, with no hint of partisanship, so it wasn't a push poll.