From Sean Cockerham in Anchorage ---
New polling from Hays Research purports to show Joe Miller has plummeted to third place in Alaska's race for the Senate, with Lisa Murkowski the apparent frontrunner followed closely by Scott McAdams.
The Anchorage firm’s poll of 500 likely voters found that 34 percent said they would vote for a write-in candidate (Lisa Murkowski’s name was not mentioned, but presumably she is who most people meant.)
Twenty-nine percent said they would vote for Democratic nominee Scott McAdams and just 23 percent favored Republican nominee Miller. The poll listed 13 percent undecided.
The Hays poll was paid for by IBEW Local 1547. The IBEW endorsed McAdams in the race and the results of the new poll were first published on the blog Mudflats, which is promoting McAdams hard.
This is the first public poll on the Senate race that I’ve seen released since Oct. 20 and its results are far different than any other poll.
The Oct. 20 CNN/Time poll, as well as the other public polls from around the same time, suggested that Miller and Murkowski were in a dead heat, with McAdams trailing an uphill third.
The Hays poll was conducted on Oct. 25th-26th. The 26th was when the news broke that Fairbanks North Star Borough documents showed Miller had initially lied in 2008 after being caught using his co-workers computers at the borough for online political polling.
Hays’ tracking polls over the past month suggest that Miller and the write-in (presumably Murkowski) were essentially tied at 31 percent of the vote on Oct. 6, with McAdams at 16 percent. Murkowski has slightly improved since then and McAdams has surged, according to Hays, while Miller has taken a nosedive.
I’ll be interested to see if other new polling agrees with what Hays has found since so far this is the only public poll to show these kind of results. We’ll post new polls when they come in.
Hays put its margin of error at plus or minus 4.4 percent.
2:30 p.m. update --- Alaskans Standing Together, a pro-Murkowski political action committee composed of Alaska Native corporations, put out another new poll this afternoon. That poll, conducted by Hellenthal Research of Anchorage, has far different numbers than those in the Hays poll.
That poll put Murkowski in the lead with 43.5 percent of the vote, Miller second with 29.1 percent and McAdams in third place with 22.7 percent.
It looks like the Hellenthal pollsters actually read Lisa Murkowski's name to the people answering the poll, unlike the Hays poll that just gave the option of "write in" to try and simulate the affect of Murkowski's name not being on the ballot.
The Hellenthal poll was conducted Oct. 25th-27th with a sample size of 400. Hellenthal, which gave the margin of error at plus or minus 4. 9 percent, included tracking numbers suggesting that Murkowski has been on the upswing over the past week, with Miller and McAdams both dropping.
Also, Nate Silver at the New York Times' FiveThirtyEight site crunched previous polls in the race (those conducted Sept. 19 to Oct. 19) to make a prediction.
His projection was Miller with 38.5 percent, Murkowski 34.1 percent and McAdams 26.3 percent. Silver gives a very big margin of error -- plus or minus 10 percent.