It looks like all of that massive Republican corruption in Alaska is taking its toll on the party, with the Senator who has represented the state for about 80 percent of its life and the Congressman who has represented the state of about 70 percent of its life both trailing their respective Democratic challengers in new head-to-head non-partisan Research 2000 polling commissioned by Markos:
If 2008 election for Congress were held today, for whom would you vote for if the choices were between Ethan Berkowitz, the Democrat, and Don Young, the Republican?
Young (R) 42
Berkowitz (D) 49
If 2008 election for U.S. Senate were held today, for whom would you vote for if the choices were between Mark Begich, the Democrat, and Ted Stevens, the Republican?
Stevens (R) 41
Begich (D) 47
In both of these races it looks like the greatest potential problem for the Democrats could come in the form of a successful primary challenge for either/both Stevens and Young. Indeed, Young recently earned himself a seemingly credible challenger in the form of state Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux.
In the event that both Young and Stevens make it out of their party's primary, it seems likely that both races will be among the most competitive in the nation next year. On the Senate side of the ledger, a Stevens-Begich race could be as high as the Democrats' fifth best pick-up opportunity (behind Mark Warner in Virginia, Tom Udall in New Mexico, Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire and Mark Udall in Colorado, perhaps in that order and perhaps not). On the House side, I wouldn't give Young much more than a slight edge, if even that, given the Republican-leaning nature of the state (no Democrat has won a federal election in the state since 1974), and I'd more likely rank the race in the toss-up range.
If you want to go back through and get some information on these races, between Todd, SenateGuru and me there's a whole lot of posts in both the AK-Sen tag and the AK-AL tag here on MyDD.
And just to add... In case folks were wondering, I have finals here at Berkeley law starting tomorrow morning, so I'm probably going to be a bit quiet in the coming days. Thanks for bearing with me, though. -- J
Update [2007-12-10 13:37:27 by Todd Beeton]:If I can just jump into Jonathan's post for a second, looking at the internals of the poll, it's interesting to note that it isn't Republicans who are abandoning Young and Stevens, although they're more inclined to support Berkowitz over Young than they are to support Begich over Stevens. The real story here appears to be independents who favor the Democrats by at least 20% margins in both races. This is particularly important in Alaska where, according to 2008 Racetracker wiki, the partisan breakdown is as follows:
As of Oct. 3, 2007:
Dem. - 67,860 (14.26%)
Rep. - 117,504 (24.69%)
Undecl. - 183,397 (38.54%)
Other - 32,296 (6.79%)