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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Dems should hope Sarah Palin carries out her threat to run for Senate

Public Policy Polling: Alaska should be a top tier pick up opportunity for Senate Republicans next year…but their top choice of a candidate is Sarah Palin. 36% of GOP primary voters in the state say they’d like Palin to be their standard bearer against Mark Begich to 26% for Mead Treadwell, 15% for Dan Sullivan, and 12% for Joe Miller. Palin leads mostly based on her strength with ‘very conservative’ voters where she gets 43% to 20% 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% of voters consider her to still be an Alaskan while 46% don’t, and 37% of voters in the state think it would be more appropriate for her to run for the Senate from Arizona to 41% 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.
I doubt Palin will run and I doubt that she was ever going to run. The only reason that she said she was thinking about it was because her fifteen minutes of fame had run out and she was desperate for some headlines.

Still, Democrats should hope she does run, just in case. Without Sarah Palin, Republicans look ready to nominate Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell, who PPP calls “the best Republican hope." A race with the Lt. Gov. is much tighter, with a Begich lead of only 44% to Treadwell’s 40%. Oddly enough, that’s actually a worse showing that the polling average for an unnamed generic Republican. has Begich at 48% and a generic Republican at 47%. So there’s still a bit of good news there.

In any case, I don’t think the nation is in danger of being subjected to a Palin campaign. I doubt she’d ever run for anything again, unless she’s guaranteed a win. In this case, she’s guaranteed a loss.

[photo by Gage Skidmore]

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