Polls we conducted last weekend found that Lisa Murkowski has a real chance to win the Alaska Senate race while Charlie Crist is pretty much done. What's causing their divergent fortunes? Here are some of the reasons:
1) In Alaska independent voter makes up 47% of the electorate, making them the largest voting group in the state. In Florida independents make up only 19% of the electorate, making them the smallest voting group in the state. Crist is actually doing better with independent voters, at 50%, than Murkowski is with them at 38%. But for Murkowski it's a much bigger part of the pot.
2) Murkowski still has some credibility with Republicans while Crist does not. The day Crist left the Republican Party that was it for his popularity with most voters in his old party. Now only 23% of GOP voters approve of the job Crist is doing as Governor and just 14% plan to vote for him this fall. Murkowski's decision to go it alone has certainly hurt her popularity with GOP voters- only 41% approve of her job performance- but the 31% of the Republican vote she's still getting compares very favorably to Crist.
3) The actual GOP nominee in Florida is a considerably stronger candidate than the one in Alaska. Marco Rubio's favorability rating is 45/43, not exactly phenomenal but ahead of the curve in a year when voters aren't responding positively to very many politicians. Joe Miller, on the other hand, is one of the most unpopular candidates anywhere this year at a 35/58 favorability. Republicans are a bit tepid about him and Democrats and independents pretty universally dislike him. If Miller was a more appealing fellow Murkowski might be just as doomed as Crist.
Those are some of the biggest reasons why Murkowski has a real chance while all Crist can do is pray for Kendrick Meek to drop out.