AK-Sen: Murkowski Drawing Plenty of Votes, But…

Opinion Research for CNN/Time (9/24-28, likely voters, no trend lines):

Scott McAdams (D): 22

Joe Miller (R): 38

Lisa Murkowski (I): 36

(MoE: ±3%)

Craciun Research for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (9/24-25, likely voters, no trend lines):

Scott McAdams (D): 19

Joe Miller (R): 30

Lisa Murkowski (I): 41

(MoE: ±5.7%)

Nate Silver, however, hits on some problems with the methodologies of both polls:

The issue with each of these polls, however, is that they made no particular accommodation to account for the fact that Ms. Murkowski will be a write-in candidate, as her name was mentioned alongside Mr. Miller and Mr. McAdams.

Indeed, and as Nate later tweeted, perhaps the best approach that pollsters should take would be to ask voters if they’re voting for McAdams, Miller, or a write-in. That would then be followed by a prompt to ask who they’re writing in (rather than offering Murkowski as a choice). However, this methodology would be difficult for a robo-pollster to accommodate (though it shouldn’t be too hard for Opinion Research or Craciun, who use live interviewers). After all, the way these pollsters are framing the choice doesn’t reflect the realities of the ballot.

It’s also worth noting that Scott McAdams only went up on the air last night for the first time, so add that as another reason why these polls may represent something of a high-water mark for Murkowski that she is unlikely to obtain in November.

Meanwhile, CNN/Time also polled the gubernatorial race…

Ethan Berkowitz (D): 38

Sean Parnell (R-inc): 57

(MoE: ±3%)

Interestingly, Berkowitz’s margin is actually slightly worse among registered voters (at 58-36). The guy is tenacious, but this looks pretty tough.

AK-AL: Young Trails Benson and Berkowitz in New Poll

Diane Benson, Rep. Don Young’s foe in 2006, just released a new poll (PDF) today showing the scandal-plagued incumbent trailing both Benson and former state House Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz, who are vying for the Democratic nomination.  Both Dems also lead Young’s Republican primary challenger, state Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux.

Craciun Research Group for Diane Benson (10/27-11/02):

Diane Benson (D): 45.3%

Don Young (R-inc): 36.7%

Undecided: 15.6%

Ethan Berkowitz (D): 49.7%

Don Young (R-inc): 35.1%

Undecided: 13.8%

Diane Benson (D): 45.0%

Gabrielle LeDoux (R): 12.3%

Undecided: 38.2%

Ethan Berkowitz (D): 49.0%

Gabrielle LeDoux (R):  13.8%

Undecided: 32.9%

(MoE: ±4.9%)

If this poll is remotely accurate, Young is screwed.  An earlier poll, conducted in August by Ivan Moore Research, showed Young trailing Berkowitz by nearly 6 points.  The environment hasn’t exactly improved for young since then, so who knows.

The poll also shows a reasonably close primary race between Benson and Berkowitz, with former Alaska Democratic Party Chair Jake Metcalfe in third:

Ethan Berkowitz (D): 28.6%

Diane Benson (D): 21.1%

Jake Metcalfe (D): 8.3%

Undecided: 33.8%

(MoE: ±5.7%)

Interestingly, 6% of respondents volunteered the name of Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, who appears set to challenge Sen. Ted Stevens (R) next year.  Another Ivan Moore poll, released last month, showed Berkowitz leading Benson by a 26 point margin.

This is shaping up to be an explosive race.

PS: Check out Young’s new campaign website.  Get a load of his slogan: “No One Has Done More, No One Will Do More.”  Who does he think he is?  Superman?