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Election 2008: Alaska Senate
Following Conviction, Stevens Falls Behind in Alaska Senate Race

Republican Senator Ted Stevens has fallen eight points behind Democrat Mark Begich in his bid for re-election, and most Alaska voters now believe Stevens should resign from office.

The latest Rasmussen Reports survey of Alaska voters, conducted a day after Stevens was found guilty of filing false financial disclosure forms, finds that 52% plan to vote for Begich while 44% support Stevens. Alaskan Independence Party candidate Bob Bird picks up three percent (3%) of the vote while two percent (2%) remain undecided.

Polling before the trial showed the Senate race to be a toss-up.

Only 74% of Republicans say they will vote for the nominee of their party while 21% of GOP voters will cast their ballot for Begich, the mayor of Anchorage.

Fifty-two percent (52%) of Alaska voters say Stevens should resign while 39% disagree. Republican leaders including John McCain, his running mate Sarah Palin, the current governor of Alaska, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have all called upon Stevens to step down.

On Monday, a federal jury in Washington found the 84-year old Senator guilty on charges stemming from a failure to report more than $250,000 in gifts and home renovations. Stevens has been a leader in Alaska politics for longer than Alaska has been a state and is the longest serving Republican senator in the history of the nation.

Seventy-four percent (74%) say they have followed news coverage of the trial Very Closely. Another 22% say they are following it Somewhat Closely.

Stevens is now viewed favorably by 43% of Alaska voters, down from 54% before the trial began. Still, even after the guilty verdict, 52% of voters say Stevens is about as ethical as most politicians. Fifteen percent (15%) say Stevens is more ethical than most of his peers while 31% say he is less ethical. These reactions say as much about perceptions of politicians as they do about Stevens.

Begich earns positive reviews from 57%, little changed from the previous poll.

Palin earns good or excellent reviews as governor from 61% of voters in her home state, virtually unchanged from polling last month. Eighty-five percent (85%) of Republicans and 59% of unaffiliated voters give Palin positive marks.

Overall, just 22% rate her job performance as poor, a figure that includes 44% of Democrats.

Fifty-one percent (51%) of Alaska voters say that Palin is more ethical than most politicians. Another 26% say she is about as ethical as her peers while just 22% say she is less ethical than your average politician.

Todd Palin, Alaska’s “First Dude,” is viewed favorably by 62% and unfavorably by 32%.

McCain continues to hold a strong lead over Barack Obama in Alaska’s presidential race. The latest poll will be released today at 5 p.m.

Stevens is far from the only Republican senator in trouble, and Democrats are likely to pick up several Senate seats next Tuesday. Other Republican seats are at risk in Virginia, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Colorado, New Mexico, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Oregon.

See results from recent polling on Senate races.

See survey questions and toplines. Crosstabs available for Premium Members only.

This telephone survey of 500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports October 28, 2008. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.


Alaska Trends: Stevens vs. Begich

Date

Stevens

Begich

10/28/2008

44%

52%

49%

48%

46%

48%

37%

50%

41%

50%

46%

44%

45%

47%

46%

45%


Favorable Ratings for Senate Candidates in Alaska

 

Stevens

Begich

Very Favorable

22%

27%

Somewhat Favorable

21%

30%

Somewhat Unfavorable

20%

18%

Very Unfavorable

35%

23%

Not Sure

1%

2%


Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.

The Rasmussen Reports ElectionEdge™ Premium Service for Election 2008 offers the most comprehensive public opinion coverage ever provided for a Presidential election.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.