Tuesday, June 10, 2014

If David Brat Can Beat Eric Cantor In Virginia, Joe Miller Can Win The Republican U.S. Senate Nomination In Alaska

Supporters of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller may be a bit discouraged by a recent Dittman poll which showed him third with 12 percent of the vote behind "DNR" Dan Sullivan (37 percent) and Mead Treadwell (35 percent) for the Republican nomination. Furthermore, the same poll showed Treadwell with a 74 percent favorable approval rating, Sullivan with a 62 percent, and Miller with only a 35 percent favorable rating.

A similar situation existed in the Republican race for Virginia's U.S. House District 7. An internal poll taken in May 2014 by McLaughlin & Associates showed incumbent Rep. Eric Cantor with a 62 percent to 28 percent lead over more conservative challenger David Brat, an economics professor running to Cantor's right, while 11 percent were undecided. McLaughlin & Associates has a history of blowing calls on critical political races. Yet another poll conducted by Vox Populi on June 2nd also showed Cantor leading Brat, but by only 52-41 percent, with 9 percent undecided. To add insult to injury, Cantor outspent Brat 20-1 during the primary campaign.

So it triggered a major political earthquake when in the Virginia Republican Primary election on June 10th, 2013, David Brat staged a huge upset over Eric Cantor, defeating him by a 56 percent to 44 percent margin. But there were some warning signs on the horizon. Cantor became more of a deal-maker in the House, angering some constitutional conservatives with his support for a clean debt ceiling increase and his move to circumvent a committee chairman to hammer out a deal on flood insurance legislation earlier this year. In the closing days of the race, conservative radio stars Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin jumped in to boost Brat, condemning Cantor for being weak on immigration. Cantor supported a Republican version of the DREAM Act, created to give legal status to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, and Brat repeatedly called Cantor’s stance "amnesty". As a matter of fact, the flood of Mexican children inundating our border states may have catapulted immigration to the top in this campaign. However, unlike elections in Mississippi and Kentucky, major conservative and Tea Party groups did not flood Cantor’s district with money and rallies. For those unfamiliar with David Brat, the Washington Post published a useful backgrounder.

The bottom line: If the polls could get it so wrong in Virginia, what's to say the polls here in Alaska couldn't also get it wrong, although Dittman Research has a better reputation than Vox Populi. Consequently, Joe Miller could be stronger at present than the polls lead us to believe. One important difference is that while Virginia's Republican primary was an open primary, offering the opportunity for Democrats and others to cross over and vote for Brat to set up an easier victory for the Democratic opponent in November, Alaska's August 19th Republican primary is a closed primary, limited to Republicans, non-partisans, and undeclared. Nevertheless, Joe Miller still has a steep uphill struggle.


  1. Dear God, please put Miller up against Begich.


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