A newly released Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey from Alaska reveals how badly tarnished the GOP brand is even in the Last Frontier State. Mark Begich, the Incumbent Democratic Senator, leads all Republican opponents in the poll. Alaska voters are not thrilled with Mark Begich’s job performance. 43 percent of Alaska voters approve of his job performance, while 44 percent disapprove. However, voters agree that any Republican in the state is an even worse option. Begich leads Dan Sullivan 41-37 and he is up 43-37 over Mead Treadwell. Although Sarah Palin has not announced any plans to run for the U.S. Senate, she trails Begich 44-40 in a hypothetical match-up. The once popular Alaska Governor is viewed unfavorably by 55 percent of Alaska voters, compared to only 39 percent who view her favorably. Still she is less loathed than Tea Party extremist Joe Miller who is now disliked by a gaping 62-16 unfavorable to favorable spread.
Republicans have long considered Alaska one of their best pickup opportunities as they try to gain the six seats needed to wrestle Senate control away from the Democrats. The state after all did vote 55-41 for Mitt Romney over Barack Obama in 2012. In 2008, the state supported McCain/Palin over Obama/Biden by a lopsided 59-38 margin. That was also the year Mark Begich eked out a 48-47 victory over Republican Ted Stevens who had been convicted on federal corruption charges just days before the election (the charges were later dismissed in April of 2009 when it was revealed that federal prosecutors had withheld some information from the defense team). However, the latest polling numbers show that Republicans can not count on retaking the Alaska seat from Begich.
Although Mark Begich’s support in the state is lukewarm, most Alaska voters are even less enamored of the Republican field. All of the announced GOP candidates trail Begich. In addition, Sarah Palin, the erratic and unpredictable ever present Alaska wild card, fares no better should she decide to run. The bottom line is that the Last Frontier is no more excited about Republicans retaking the Senate than the rest of the country is. November is still several months away, but right now the odds are in favor of Mark Begich keeping his Senate seat, while Republicans will have to try to figure out why they are losing in a state as traditionally conservative as Alaska.