one of the biggest
political upsets this year, conservative lawyer
Joe Miller toppled incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski in Alaska's GOP
primary. Though Murkowski conceded defeat to the Sarah Palin endorsed candidate, she quickly flipped the script, launching a quixotic write-in
campaign to keep her Senate seat. The initial reactions to her
divisive move weren't kind
, but moderate Republicans jumped on board
and Murkowski's campaign became symbolic of the larger in-fighting
between the GOP establishment and the Tea Party. The latest
wave of polling now shows Murkowski "deadlocked" with Joe
Miller, and ahead of Democrat Scott McAdams. Pundits are giving a second
(or third or fourth) look at the possibility of the Alaskan Senator
reclaiming her seat.
- 'Don't Count Her Out Yet' observes Jay
Newton-Small at Time. "Miller's candidacy has provoked panic in the
state and local employees' unions, including the firefighter, police and
teachers' associations, and all of Alaska's native tribes," he figures.
And while Murkowski would be the first candidate to win a write-in bid
since Strom Thurmond in 1954, "She hails from a state known for voting
with its wallet, and that wallet has been thin of late."
- Polling This Race Will Be Difficult explains
blogger Allahpundit at Hot Air. "Polls of this race are tricky twice
over, once because Alaska is notoriously difficult to gauge and twice
because the nature of Murkowski’s candidacy poses a dilemma for the
pollster. Do you do it the way Scott Rasmussen does it, offering
respondents a choice between Miller and McAdams to reflect the choices
on the ballot and letting them volunteer Murkowski’s name instead? Or do
you name all three candidates and ask if respondents will be 'writing
- The Whole Process Takes Tremendous Voter
Education finds The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza who quotes Jean
Craciun from Alaska-based Craciun Research. "You cannot entirely
compensate for a write-in candidate and that's why the margin is
significant in this case," Craciun told the Post. "We know the intent of
voters at this point -- and more than 40% of Alaskans polled are with
Lisa. Now it will be Lisa's job to teach Alaskans how to show their
intent on Election Day."
- One Big Caveat Politico's Andy Barr hedges,
"While the polls are good news for Murkowski, neither survey was able
to gauge the likelihood that voters will indeed write in Murkowski’s
name on the ballot—or if they will be able to correctly do so in order
for their vote to be counted." Still, she,"appears to be pulling enough
Republicans away from Miller and Democrats from McAdams to make it a
- Let's Look at the Upside writes
pollster Nate Silver at The New York Times: "As we had noted earlier,
it is probably the case that polls that treat write-in bids as though
they are conventional ones overestimate their support — but it is very
difficult to say how large the effect is."
- Miller Has the Edge
even though the most recent polls show that the incumbent has
"essentially" pulled even, The American Spectator's Philip Klein isn't quite sure
she can eke out a win: "One would have to think that Murkowski's name
not being on the ballot will cost her a lot of votes, thus I'd still be
inclined to give Miller the edge unless polls start to show Murkowski
with a big lead."
- It's Over Already declares
blogger Ian Lazaran at Conservatives 4 Palin. "If Murkowski cannot get
ahead of Miller even when pollsters include her name as an option,
there's no way she'll ever be able to pull ahead as her name will not
appear on the ballot in reality. Murkowski had previously effectively
claimed that she would take the lead if her name was included in polling
but her claims were proven false....So even under the most favorable
poll that Murkowski could have asked for, she's still trailing Joe
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
ehayden at nationaljournal dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.