Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ivan Moore September 22nd Poll Shows Don Young Only Five Points Behind Ethan Berkowitz In Alaska U.S. House Race

The remainder of Ivan Moore's September 22nd poll of 500 likely Alaskan voters, the first part of which was released and discussed earlier, has been published on September 24th, 2008 in the Anchorage Press. And it shows a pleasant surprise (unless you're a Democrat).

The surprise - Congressman Don Young's chances of remaining Congressman of all Alaskans (except for Ear and a few others) has increased noticeably. From being 17 points behind Democratic challenger Ethan Berkowitz on September 2nd, Young is now only five points back of Berkowitz, who leads by 49 percent to 44 percent. More impressively, Don Young's negative ratings have dropped by six points from 58 percent to 52 percent.

While most pundits believe that it is difficult to get elected if one's negatives are higher than 40 percent, Don Young seems to defy conventional wisdom. Young has not gotten the sympathy bounce received by Ted Stevens. Perhaps some of the normal post-primary bounce resulted from the fact that on September 17th, Young was officially certified as the winner of his primary election, and his opponent, Sean Parnell, took the high road and refused to ask for a recount.

Ivan Moore also discloses that in the U.S. Senate race, Democratic challenger Mark Begich is clinging to a two-point lead over incumbent Ted Stevens, 48 percent to 46 percent. However, Stevens' negative ratings did inch upward by four points. Back on August 12th, Begich led Stevens by 17 points, but that was right after the Stevens' indictment was first announced. Some of the local buzz indicates that Ted Stevens is getting a strong sympathy bounce from the growing perception that the Federal "prosecution" is actually a thinly-disguised witch hunt; if you review the 29-page indictment, and include the additional charges of questionable relevance piled on after the fact, you will see that the Feds are clearly "reaching", acting under the assumption that Stevens' failure to report the gifts was knowing and malevolent.

But Ivan Moore doesn't address the "sympathy" factor. Instead, he suggests the reason why the Democratic challengers are losing ground is because, to quote him, their ads make them appear to be "intellectual, wishy-washy, weak-kneed, liberal Ds versus a couple of tough, grizzled, possibly corrupt but otherwise experienced old warhorses who know how to get the job done". Ivan Moore says they need to toughen up their ads to show they can stand toe-to-toe with Stevens and Young, without crossing the line and going "negative". In addition, Ivan Moore suggests that Mark Begich rely less on centrally-produced Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC) ads and more on locally-produced ads reinforcing the Alaska connection.

I was quite pessimistic about Don Young's chances until this poll. Now I think he can possibly come all the way back and actually win this thing. This is important, because if Ted Stevens is convicted, he's done. I couldn't in good conscience vote for Stevens if he was convicted; I'd have to switch my support to Alaska Independence Party candidate Bob Bird. So with the possibility of an Obama presidency and a Ted Stevens conviction, Don Young may be our last line of defense to assure that Alaska will get any piece of the Federal pie in the future, never mind our "fair share".

Information about all Alaskan candidates for Federal office can be found HERE.

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