Nielson, whose company is named NSON Opinion Research, surveyed 243 Alaska Republican and undeclared voters and found Murkowski leading with 46.9 percentage points to 35.39 for Miller. Since the Tea Party Express had not yet released the raw data as of this post, we don't know when the poll was taken. In any event, it shows that Joe Miller is now within striking distance of Lisa Murkowski. NSON may not be a familiar name to Alaskans, but they've conducted thousands of political polls of every type since 1992. They have also completed over 1,000,000 individual voter interviews in that time, making them one of the most experienced polling firms in the United States.
Update August 21st: The raw data is now available HERE as a .Doc file. The breakdown was 133 Republicans and 110 Undeclared/Independents. The 12-page output shows that Joe Miller is strongest in Mat-Su and Fairbanks, and weakest in Anchorage and Rural. It also shows that Miller is running well ahead amongst the 35-44 age group, about even in the 18-34 group, and well behind Murkowski amongst those 45 and older.
One development which could drive even more voters into the Miller camp on August 24th was the revelation today that the Department of Justice, despite admittedly having sufficient evidence to seek an indictment, will refuse to prosecute former VECO boss Bill Allen for alleged sex offenses against minors. Anchorage Police Department investigators had put together the case and the Justice Department trial attorney who had been working with them for nearly two years, along with the supervisor of his section, wanted to seek an indictment from a grand jury. But the lower-level DOJ attorneys were overruled by superiors. Bill Allen was Brenda Morris' superstar snitch during the Ted Stevens trial, and it's believed the DOJ decided to blow off the sex offense charges in exchange for Allen's cooperation. Joe Miller is widely believed to be much tougher on rogue government behavior than Lisa Murkowski.
Meanwhile, Sarah Palin fired a major salvo at Murkowski on her Facebook page, along with a last-minute appeal for $30,000 for a final media buy for Miller. Palin's screed was basically a summation of Joe Miller's standard talking points. Here's the gist of her post:
Alaskans are learning more about Joe. Here’s what we know: We know that Joe will not vote for amnesty for those who break our laws, but we know Lisa has already voted for amnesty – on May 25, 2006 on S. 2611, and voted against funding for the border fence. As Joe says: “It is a simple question. Are we a nation of laws? I believe we are. Therefore, the President must enforce our immigration laws as written and secure our borders, not sue the state of Arizona for acting where the federal government has failed to do so.” [Ed. Note: Murkowski now opposes amnesty for illegals.]
We know Joe won’t support more bailouts, but we know Lisa already has. We know that Joe won’t vote for job-killing cap-and-tax legislation, but we know Lisa will because she co-sponsored a cap-and-trade bill and boasted of her commitment to “the issue of climate change” and carbon taxes. [Ed. Note: Murkowski now regrets supporting the first TARP, but she says she knew of no other option at the time.]
We know Joe will vote to repeal Obamacare, but we know Lisa won’t because she said that repealing this government control of health care “is not the answer.”
And this is very important: we know that Joe can be counted on to vote with Commonsense Conservatives in the Senate, but we can’t count on Lisa because she has voted with Democrats over 300 times and Human Events rated her one of the top five “Senate RINOs.”
Murkowski spokesman Steve Wackowski was none too impressed with Palin's salvo. He considers Ted Stevens' mentorship of Lisa Murkowski more impressive than "a thousand Facebook posts". But it's what those Facebook posts can lead to that really counts.
If Lisa Murkowski wins on August 24th, it will no longer be a landslide. An upset by Joe Miller is now within the realm of possibility.