PPP's newest Alaska poll finds that Mark Begich continues to lead his potential Republican opponents for reelection by small margins, and that third party candidates could play a spoiler role in helping him win this fall.
Voters are closely divided in their feelings about Begich with 43% approving of the job he's doing to 44% who disapprove. None of his potential Republican opponents have great numbers either though. Mead Treadwell has a 33/31 favorability rating, Dan Sullivan's is 31/35, and Joe Miller is incredibly unpopular with a 16/62 spread.
Begich leads Sullivan 41/37, Treadwell 43/37, and Miller 45/25 in prospective match ups. Third party candidates get anywhere from 7-9% in those match ups, with the Alaskan Independence Party candidate in particular getting a decent amount of support at anywhere from 5-6%. That's splitting the anti-Begich vote and helping him to lead overall, a similar dynamic to what we saw in the Montana Senate race in 2012 when Jon Tester won with less than 50% because the Libertarian candidate pulled so much support.
Begich is leading in this GOP heavy state because he has double digit crossover support from Republicans and holds double digit leads with independents. Anywhere from 14-19% of Republicans support him over Sullivan, Treadwell, and Miller while he loses only 5-9% of the Democratic vote. He also leads by 13-14 points with independents against Sullivan and Treadwell, and 28 against Miller.
The best news for Republicans in this poll is that Miller doesn't appear to have a great chance at the nomination. Sullivan's taken the lead in the Republican primary field with 30% to 25% for Treadwell, 20% for Miller, 4% for Kathleen Tonn, and 2% for John Jaramillo. Miller has a 26/52 favorability rating with GOP primary voters, and it's 34/43 even with the 'very conservative' ones who helped propel him to the party nomination in 2010. The undecided primary voters have mostly negative opinion of Miller and seem likely to end up picking between Sullivan and Treadwell.
Barack Obama has a 35/58 approval rating in Alaska, down even further from his 39/57 standing in July. But Begich's average 5 point lead over Sullivan and Treadwell is basically unchanged from 5.5 points then, so he's emerged from the Obamacare rollout in about as good of shape as you could expect.
Other notes from Alaska:
-Congressman Don Young is the most popular politician up for reelection in Alaska this year. 46% of voters approve of the job he's doing to 39% who disapprove, and he has a massive lead at 50/22 over Democratic opponent Matt Moore. Libertarian Jim McDermott registers at 12%.
Full results here