Updated: Maryland-based pollster has Sullivan beating Begich by 5 points

Updated: A new poll by the Maryland-based firm Basswood Research shows that if the election were held today, U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan would beat Sen. Mark Begich by 5 points, 45-40 percent with 14.6 percent undecided. The poll interviewed 500 likely Alaska voters June 29-30. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percent.

The question was asked by Basswood as part of a larger poll for another candidate, who is not running for the U.S. Senate seat, and the topline numbers were released to me on the condition that I not name the paying candidate. It was a general election poll, and neither Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell nor Joe Miller were included.

Another word of caution: I don’t have the crosstabs and the makeup of the poll. So take from it what you will. Basswood, a Republican polling firm, has polled on Alaska races in the past. Recently, it’s polled for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and is one of the lead pollsters for the Club For Growth.

Update: A few of you have wanted to know how the question was worded. This is what was sent to me.

Question:  Looking ahead, if the election for the United States Senate was held today and the candidates were (randomize), for whom would you vote?

Dan Sullivan 45.4%

Mark Begich 40.0%

Undecided  14.6%

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37 thoughts on “Updated: Maryland-based pollster has Sullivan beating Begich by 5 points

  1. K. Miller

    What in the world is Lynn Willis trying to say. Usually his comments are rather thoughtful and knowledgeable. However, there almost always is undecideds. I don’t think he has a clue today. Lynn, it has nothing to do with staying at home – – they are just undecideds.

    Reply
    1. Lynn Willis

      I admit I am making a fine point. My disappointment is with this survey being characterized in the headline as a clear indication of a probable victory by one candidate over the other by a 5% margin. Because of the significant number of voters (14.6%) undecided between Sullivan and Begich and the calculated statistical margin of error (5%) this is actually no good (or bad) news for either side.
      Statistical data is pliable based on how you report it. This situation reminds me of a former boss I had who reported to upper management that our error rate had been reduced by “100%”. What he didn’t clearly explain was that in the previous reporting period there had been a single error out of hundreds of transactions. When you change from 1 to zero you have, in fact, changed 100%; however, as in this case, my boss apparently was trying to put the best spin possible on the data. He even made a comparative bar graph of his conclusion without indicating that the sample size was 1.

      Reply
  2. Franklin

    You Sullivan supporters passing around your whisper campaign are the whiniest/most negative supporters in the Republican party, you’re worse then Joe’s supporters!

    Reply
  3. Lynn Willis

    This headline “Updated: Maryland-based pollster has Sullivan beating Begich by 5 points” could have also been written: “Updated: Maryland-based pollster has Sullivan beating Begich by 5 points only if 14.6% of Alaskan voters stay home”.
    Is there a patron saint for those of us who have been spun to the point of dizziness?

    Reply
      1. Lynn Willis

        You flatter me…. When Amanda reported the choice was “randomized” I assume that means the choices were still only either Begich or Sullivan while either was offered as first choice. I suppose this poll could be considered a referendum on Begich. That said, apparently 15% of Alaskans are undecided, so might that might mean a significant number of these 15% could swing to Begich regardless of the Republican candidate? Couple that with a 5% margin of error and I don’t think Sullivan should take much comfort or start measuring for office drapes.
        Only when the registered Republicans actually restrict their primary to party members and therefore keep folks like me (unregistered/undeclared) away might they garner broad party support for their primary winner.
        My point is, for the primary winner in this election, his nebulous Alaskan “base” cannot be expected to follow him into the general election. I offer the last election of Ms. Murkowski after her defeat in the Republican primary as exhibit “A”. I am still suffering from spin and have to take a break.

        Reply
  4. Undeclared

    Process of elimination narrows it down to most likely two. Don Young or Parnell. Doubtful that Parnell would have used that firm. Anyone feel like looking up past APOC reports to see if any of them have used that firm before?

    Reply
    1. Undeclared

      It was Parnell. He used basswood on July 7, according to APOC reports. I wonder how Treadwell feels about that.

      Reply
  5. jim

    To answer the question re super voters – I think to some degree that is what they’re doing, I just don’t know what quantitative screen they used, maybe a scale 1 – 10. If 9’s and 10’s were super voters, you might include 8’s too for a more reflective sample. Again, I hjave no idea what screen they used. Talking hypothetically. Amanda – thanks for the update.

    Reply
  6. Kurt

    I am a Joe Miller supporter. I don’t think he’ll win the primary. But, I believe in him. I am growing increasingly disgusted with the Treadwell campaign. All they do is put down Joe and Dan. Their lack of sensible civil discourse is horrific. Now, the Treadwell ppeople are spitting at a credible poll and yesterday was embracing a poll that had no scientific basis or credibility. I think the Treadwell campaign is on an island to themselves when it comes to lack of character. While I wish they would have tested other scenarios, it was someone else’s poll, not mine. Even Treadwell’s pollster complains and contradicts things that Treadwell says. Wish everyone cared a bit more about their character.

    Reply
    1. jim

      please elaborate on how Treadwell’s campaign has only been putting down miller and sullivan. You’ve listened to too many of Sullivan’s ads that are flat out lies. The only “attack”, if that’s what you want to call it, that they put out was a challenge of Sullivan’s blatantly false claims that he fought to pass stand your ground here in alaska.

      Reply
  7. Lenny

    Amanda Coyne does an excellent job with her blog. She is the best political reporter in the state and a formidable force on the state’s political scene. She is fair; yet, not afraid to call a politician on the mat or be critical of them. Your last two stories on polling shows the breadth of your contacts and understanding of the many variables of political polling. I just want to compliment you on your work and express my sincere appreciation for it.

    Reply
  8. Ted

    What is even funnier is the Sullivan supporters getting excited on this so called poll that doesn’t have Treadwell or Miller in it and making it sound like Sullivan is doing better than either…how does that even make sense..this so called poll would be a lot more newsworthy and legit if it included the other two candidates in the republican primary…And unscientific you say about the New York Times poll, well I’m sure you would be singing it’s praises if Sullivan had the Treadwell numbers in that particular poll. So go play checkers with Sullivan and don’t be a sore looser when you both loose…

    Reply
    1. Milton Friedman

      LOL. You sound like White Goodman from Dodgeball. “Quit now. Save yourself the embarrassment of losing with these losers in Las Vegas, La Fleur.”

      Don’t be so dramatic. We don’t know what questions the poll asked actually. It looks as though it hasn’t been released yet and this just appears to be a leaked portion.

      As far as yesterday’s drama was concerned, I think it was very silly to put that poll in a press release and tout it as some kind of proof for your candidacy. I would have been disappointed if any candidate had done so as it just was not a good poll. By the way, no other candidate in the United States, that I could find, used that poll as proof for anything except Mead Treadwell. Just food for thought there.

      Reply
  9. Dave

    Recent polling has shown Dave Stieren has the best hair in radio. Clearly this is a trend worth noting.

    Reply
  10. Milton Friedman

    Politics can be so entertaining sometimes. Just yesterday Treadwell and his supporters were touting an opt in poll as proof that he was the only candidate that could beat Begich. Never mind that the poll lacked scientific credibility. Today, a leak comes out that an actual scientific based and respected pollster shows a five point lead for Sullivan over Begich. Treadwell has got to be bummed right about now. Sullivan is playing chess while the other two are playing checkers.

    Reply
      1. Milton Friedman

        Zing I guess? Not sure what that even means. It seems the Treadwell folks are just flustered and don’t know what to say perhaps? Keep in mind though that the poll hasn’t been released so there may be some good news in it for Mead’s campaign as we’ll.

        Reply
  11. Jim

    To answer R. Logan’s question “what is a likely AK voter?”. This is a polling/screening technique. Rather than just polling registered voters, pollsters have learned that they can increase their accuracy by calling registered voters and then using various screening techniques, in this case asking the registered voter, in some quantitative manner, how likely they are to vote in the upcoming election. If they meet the minimum requirements of the screen then you go forward with the survey. Hope this answers your question.
    On a sepparate note, Sullivan has been able to withstand a $3 1/2 million negative pounding by Begich and his SuperPAC and still beat Begich by 5 pts in the general election. Given Treadwell’s baggage, I don’t think he could take a $1 million beating and survive it. Bottom line: if you want to beat Begich, vote Sullivan. A vote for anyone other than Dan Sullivsn is a vote for Begich.

    Reply
    1. Rebecca Logan

      Jim – thanks for the definition according to pollsters. Wouldn’t a poll be more accurate if you actually targeted only super voters?

      Reply
  12. Brad

    Just remember that the Club for Growth is a respected group. I see so many Treadwell supporters on here refuting them, and yet so many good and honest people supporting the claims they made. See while their record isn’t great in Alaska, they’re a Nationally respected group. If some anonymous candidate with the funds to dump into a poll releases one and uses the same pollster as them, we should just accept it and move on.

    Vote Dan, he da Man!
    Don’t vote Mead, he ain’t what you need!
    Oh wait –
    A vote for Mead is a vote for Reid!
    Vote for Dan, he’ll nuke Japan!
    We’re on a roll today

    Reply
  13. Donna B

    So much for the “Treadwell Surge” he’s been force feeding us the last two days. The only reason he’s even in this race is because of the millions spent by the Democrats against Dan.

    The only thing that worries me is the number of staff Begich seems to have on the ground in rural AK. I’ve seen Sullivan canvassers around; what kind of infrastructure does Treadwell have, and how does he possibly think he stands a chance against Begich? Begich is trying to register new voters that won’t appear on a pollster’s radar, and Republicans need to do the same.

    Reply
    1. jim

      I’m sorry but Dan was literally a nobody in Alaska politics, or even Alaska for that matter, before his washington DC buds told him he’d be running and gave him a shit ton of money. So don’t claim the only reason Treadwell is in the race is because of money, because that would make you hypocrite.

      Reply
  14. Cynthia

    Dan Sullivan is a winner.
    The comment posted by Sheldon is wishful thinking. I would like to think that all 3 of the GOP senate candidates are better than incumbent Begich’ however, only one of the candidates, Dan Sullivan, has been able to attract the necessary funds to run a credible campaign. I wish the Republican candidates, namely Mead Treadwell, would stop his workers from their lies about Joe Miller and Dan Sullivan.

    Reply
  15. Sheldon H.

    Anent the results of the poll: I am curious as to how the question was worded. I.e. If Basswood phrased the Q as, “If Sullivan and Begich faced-off in the general, for whom would you vote?”

    My point is this: if Sullivan was substituted for Treadwell or Miller, the results would have also shown the Republican as a five point favorite. In other words, the only (in italics) conclusive point one can take away from this news is that Alaskans prefer to elect a Republican senator more than keeping Begich.

    Reply
  16. Sheldon H.

    Anent the results of the poll: I am curious as to how the question was worded. I.e. If Basswood phrased the Q as, “If Sullivan and Begich faced-off in the general, for whom would you vote?”

    My point is this: if Sullivan was substituted for Treadwell or Miller, the results would have also shown the Republican in a five point favor. In other words, the only (in italics) conclusive point one can take away from this news is that Alaskans prefer to elect a Republican senator more than keeping Begich.

    Reply
  17. Sheldon H.

    Anent the results of the poll: I am curious as to how the question was worded. I.e. If Basswood phrased the Q as, “If Sullivan and Begich faced-off in the general, for whom would you vote?”

    My point is this: if Sullivan was substituted for Treadwell or Miller, the results would have also shown a 5 point in favor of a Republican. In other words, the only (in italics) conclusive point one can take away from this news is that rather than keeping Begich, Alaskans prefer to elect a Republican senator.

    Reply
  18. Sheldon H.

    Anent the results of the poll: I am curious as to how the question was worded. I.e. If Basswood phrased the Q as, “If Sullivan and Begich faced-off in the general, for whom would you vote?”

    My point is this: if Sullivan was substituted for Treadwell or Miller, the results would have also shown a 5 point in favor of a Republican. In other words, the only (in italics) conclusive point one can take away from this news is that Alaskans prefer to elect a Republican senator more than keeping Begich.

    Reply
  19. Tim N.

    Jon Lerner’s Basswood Research is a very respected east coast polling company. They have been on point for much of the Republican polling that has taken place on immigration reform recently. They have a history of accuracy and are very credible. Additionally, they have experience polling in Alaska and understand the state’s public opinion nuances. I’m very pleased with this news. I have always felt that Dan Sullivan is the only Republican candidate that can and will beat Begich. Sullivan has built an organization that can run a credible campaign and raised money effectively both in and out of state.

    Reply

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