Since the Palin-endorsed Joe Miller earned national prominence by defeating incumbent Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski, it's been a downhill race for the insurgent candidate. Miller has faced several weeks of campaign gaffes, a suddenly viable Murkowski write-in bid, and a Democratic opponent who believes he can win even if he performs as an average loser. Further complicating the race is a curve-ball poll from Hays Research which suggests that voters "very negative" impressions of Miller are reaching "astronomical" levels. Yet, despite the bleak outlook from Hays, Miller can take comfort in the fact that every single other poll since the primary has the Tea Party favorite in the lead.
The Latest Problem: Joe Miller Was Caught Lying Sean Cockerham at The Anchorage Daily-News reports that Miller has admitted lying for using company computers "for political purposes" when he was part-time lawyer. "Miller's admission and a disciplinary letter were among his employee records released by the Fairbanks North Star Borough on Tuesday as a result of a lawsuit by media organizations," notes Cockerham. "During the campaign, Miller first refused to answer questions from reporters about it, then acknowledged he had been disciplined. He's refused to discuss the details, however and won't agree to an interview with the Daily News."
The Enduring Problem: the 'Tea Party Isn't Very Popular In Alaska' finds Slate columnist David Weigel, who makes that assessment based on the Hays Research poll and boils it all down to "Palin politics." Consider the following scenarios that Weigel proposes, most of which would reflect poorly on Palin's influence. "In one scenario, [Christine] O'Donnell loses while Miller wins, and Palin looks like a RINO-killer with some limited success. In another scenario, O'Donnell loses and Murkowski wins, and Palin has lost an election in her own state. And in the nightmare sceario, O'Donnell loses and McAdams wins, which would mean Palin cost the GOP two safe seats in the U.S. Senate. That last scenario is still unlikely, but it would be a real mess, especially if Democrats ended up holding the Senate by only one or two votes."
The Possible Result: Lisa Murkowski Could Make History ventures The Washington Post's Aaron Blake, noting that the incumbent would be the first in decades to win back her Senate seat with a write-in bid. While Murkowski surges "Miller's struggles culminated Wednesday when a report surfaced that showed he had not only misused computers at a previous job for political purposes but had repeatedly lied about it," observes Blake. Even the National Republican Senatorial Committee is "hedging" its bet, switching out a positive ad for Joe Miller in favor of a negative ad to beat back Democrat Scott Mcadams.
The Dark Horse: Democrat Scott McAdams Is Polling Decently Looking at data from the Hays Research poll, Huffington Post contributor (and Mudflats.net editor) Jeanne Devon reports that Scott McAdams is surging ahead of Joe Miller with 29 percent of the vote. "This is the first time that McAdams has polled better than Miller, and he did it by six points, comfortably outside the margin of error of 4.8 percent -- a watershed moment for the McAdams campaign," Devon writes.
But Joe Miller Has Reinforcements: Sarah Palin Plans Last Minute Campaign Event The Hill's Jordan Fabian details the Tea Party icon's plans to hold a "Change D.C." rally for Joe Miller, arriving with Todd Palin in tow. A large part of Palin's support for the outsider candidate is her long-running "feud" with Lisa Murkowski. The Alaskans "fierce rivalry" dates back "to 2006, when she successfully defeated her father, former Republican Gov. Frank Murkowski, in a primary. The defeated Murkowski also appointed his daughter to her Senate seat."
All of This Is Moot If Voters Write-In 'Lisxzqq Murkwrwfcvplski' for Senate The National Review's Jim Geraghty doesn't give much weight to the new Hays Reseach poll, noticing that the same outfit in 2008 had Mark Begich polling well ahead of Ted Stevens, and Stevens eventually pulled within a point on election day. For Joe Miller, the biggest aid might the the fact that Voters actually have to write the name 'Murkowski.' Joe Millers recent gaffes, in his opinion, don't "seem big enough to change the race by themselves, but the drip-drip-drip may be giving some voters some second thoughts about him."