Raleigh, N.C.— Despite her unpopularity at large, Alaska Republicans want Sarah Palin to be their U.S. Senate nominee next year. If they get their wish, Mark Begich should escape his meager approval ratings and cruise to re-election in a deep red state. And the GOP will have choked in yet another prime pickup opportunity three cycles in a row.
In the primary, Palin tops establishment favorite, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, 36-26, with Dan Sullivan back at 15% and 2010 nominee Joe Miller at 12%. If Palin opts out of a bid, Treadwell would be in better shape, with 33% to Sullivan’s 25% and Miller’s 24%. Head-to-head with Miller, who is disliked 2:1 even by GOP primary voters, Treadwell would romp, 53-30.
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.
The best Republican hope for this seat is Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell and the good news for the GOP is that if Palin sits it out he, and not 2010 nominee Joe Miller, is the next choice of the party base. In a three way primary Treadwell gets 33% to 25% for Sullivan and 24% for Miller. And in a head to head with Miller, Treadwell leads 53/30. Even among Republican primary voters Miller has a dreadful 26/53 favorability rating.
Raleigh, N.C.- PPP’s latest poll of voters
across America finds that the Republican primary race has become a virtual dead
heat between five or six candidates. Rand Paul sits ahead of the field at 16%,
his highest numbers since April, and the first time he has held sole possession
of first place. Behind him are Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Paul Ryan, all at
13%. This is a slight drop for Bush and Christie, who last month had both led
with 15%. Just after that is Ted Cruz with 12%, a huge increase from 7% in May.
Rounding out the frontrunners is Marco Rubio, who continues to slide in the
polls, pulling in 10%. This is less than half of the 21% of the vote he
received back in April.
trend in the Republican primary field is pretty clear,” said Dean Debnam,
President of Public Policy Polling. “Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are up and Marco
Rubio is down.”
PPP's newest look at the Republican field for 2016 finds some big changes from our previous polling. Marco Rubio, who had led all of our polling since December, has dropped all the way to 6th place. Rand Paul now has the lead nationally, to go along with the leads he posted in our most recent Iowa and New Hampshire polls. And Ted Cruz has already hit double digits.
The numbers are: Paul 16, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Paul Ryan each at 13, Cruz at 12, Rubio at 10, Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal at 4, and Susana Martinez at 2. Cruz has proven to be such a darling to the far right that he actually already leads among 'very conservative' voters with 20% to 18% for Paul and 17% for Ryan. Christie gets 24% with 'moderate' identifying Republicans but doesn't do better overall because he's at just 7% with 'very conservative' ones.
Rubio was at 21 or 22% on all of our polls between January and March but his support has now dropped to half that level. Meanwhile Paul has vaulted into the lead after starting the year at only 5% in our polling, perhaps owing to the positive attention he received from conservatives after his filibuster earlier this year. Christie and Bush have remained consistently in the 12-15% range in all of our polling.
Alaska won our vote on where to poll this week. Let us know what Republicans you think we should poll against Mark Begich and what Democrats you think we should poll against Sean Parnell...as well as anything else you would like to see asked on an Alaska poll...thanks as always for your great suggestions!
PPP is best known for putting out highly accurate polling on key political races across the country, but we also do affordable private research for candidates and organizations. Why pay tens of thousands of dollars for a survey when one of the most reliable companies in the nation can do it for less?"