Palin would be Republican favorite to challenge Begich

Alaska Republicans want former Gov. Sarah Palin to be their nominee for Senate, according to a poll released Tuesday, even though she would struggle in a general election against Democratic Sen. Mark Begich.

Palin has publicly flirted with the idea of challenging Begich, and the two have traded insults through various publications, Twitter, and Facebook after her initial expression of interest. Begich accused Palin of having “lost touch” with Alaska and criticized her for resigning her post as governor before the end of her term.

A survey from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling found that if Palin did get in the race she would be the clear favorite for Republicans. Thirty-six percent of usual GOP primary voters say they would pick her, compared to 26 percent for Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, the favorite if Palin does not get in the race.

Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan, another candidate, gets just 15 percent, and Joe Miller, onetime tea party star who lost to a write-in campaign by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, gets just 12 percent.

Alaska Republicans still hold a high opinion of Palin, with 56 percent saying they have a favorable view of her, and 38 percent holding an unfavorable view.

But it would be good news for Democrats if Palin were to get in and make it through a primary.

Fifty-eight percent of Alaska voters hold an unfavorable opinion of the onetime vice presidential nominee, compared to just 39 percent who hold a favorable opinion. In a sample general election ballot, Begich leads Palin by twelve points, 52 percent to 40 percent, in spite of the Senator’s mediocre approval rating, with 42 percent approving and 41 percent disapproving.

Treadwell is the strongest of the four Republican candidates polled, trailing Begich 40 percent to 44 percent. Sullivan is behind 39 percent to 46 percent, and Miller is by far the weakest candidate, losing 32 percent to 55 percent.

The poll surveyed 890 Alaska voters from July 25 through July 28, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points. The Republican primary data is based on a survey of 507 usual Republican primary voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

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