The Alaska Shake-Up

The first post Palin poll in Alaska shows big changes, Aug 9-12 (Aug 30 – Sept 2):

Palin Approval 82/13 (+69)

Help/Hurt McCain:
Help 62
Hurt 20

McCain/Palin 54
Obama/Biden 35

Back in July, McCain led by 2.5 according to the same pollster. Actually, most AK polls have been close (5-10 point McCain lead). It seems Palin has taken a likely R state and made it Big Time R state.

Begich (D) 49 (56)
Stevens (R) 46 (39)

Berkowitz (D) 54 (51)
Young (R) 37 (41)

Berkowitz (D) 42 (38)
Parnell (R) 46 (49)

The primary already occurred but the race was so close between incumbent Rep. Young and Palin-endorsed Lt. Gov. Parnell that the race has not been called. Absentee votes remain to be counted. If Young wins the primary, the seat is almost definitely lost due to Young’s pork barrel related corruption. If Parnell wins the primary, he starts with a decent lead.

I have no idea how Stevens improved over the past few weeks. He is now under indictment for pork barrel related corruption himself. He has been a figurehead in AK and very popular in the past. But after the indictment came down, the close race became a likely D pickup. Hopeful GOPers believe Stevens might drop out and let the AK GOP replace him in the race. But that probably overestimates Stevens’s commitment to the “team.” If Stevens gets cleared in his indictment, he might be able to win this seat.

So elevating Palin has not affected her approval rating and it seems to have helped McCain put AK in the bag.