I wasn’t terribly familiar with Hays Research, the pollster in Alaska that is offering the shocking news that Republican Joe Miller is plummeting in that state’s U.S. Senate race.
First, the idea that Joe Miller is in trouble doesn’t seem that implausible; he’s been dogged by a variety of odd stories and missteps — Tweets that suggested he had the race wrapped up, his security guards detaining a reporter, admitting misuse of work computers. None of these stories seem big enough to change the race by themselves, but the drip-drip-drip may be giving some voters some second thoughts about him.
But I’m a little wary of this pollster’s results. In 2008, Hays Research’s final poll in the Senate race between Democrat Mark Begich and incumbent Republican Ted Stevens had the race looking like a near-blowout: Begich 48.3 percent, Stevens 40 percent.
But on Election Day, Stevens fell just short, 46.5 percent to Begich’s 47.8 percent.
They also had the GOP presidential ticket with the current governor barely ahead: McCain-Palin at 46.6 percent, Obama-Biden at 43.9 percent.
On Election Day, McCain-Palin won easily with 59.4 percent of the vote, Obama-Biden took 37.8 percent.
So while it’s quite possible that Miller’s numbers have taken a tumble, I am skeptical that his circumstances are as dire as the Hays poll suggests.
Whether or not this benefits the write-in candidate, Lisxzqq Murkwrwfcvplski*, remains to be seen.
* For all Alaskan readers, this is the legal spelling of the incumbent senator’s name and should be used for all write-in ballots.