Maddow on AK-SEN

Rachel Maddow had a great segment last night on the Alaska Senate race, particularly the surprising path it’s taken since the primary election. Scott McAdams, Maddow points out, has run a great Alaska-focused campaign. Meanwhile Murkowski is running as a write-in and Joe Miller is a Palin-esq candidate with a new scandal every 24-48 hours.

This race is really close – closer than polls can adequately reflect with the write-in situation. I’m predicting that the winner of this race doesn’t have more than 37% of the vote. It’s totally likely that McAdams can surge forward and win the race, as Murkowski voters realize that they cannot expect her to win as a write-in and Joe Miller shows himself to be a totally non-viable option for any Alaskan who isn’t a dyed in the wool Tea Partier.

On Maddow’s show, Nate Silver says:

I mean, Joe Miller won the primary with an infusion of money from the Tea Party which is worth half a million dollars, right? So, you know, he can get very high levels of turnout among Democrats. There are some liberal-leaning, centrist and independents. There are also people who just don’t like either Murkowski or Joe Miller, you know?

So, the potential for him to reach 35 percent, maybe 36 percent is there. He would need some help though to make sure that the remaining votes are split about evenly between the two Republicans, because otherwise, you know, he might do as well as you can in a state like Alaska and not quite come out ahead.

Well Nate, let’s keep in mind that Mark Begich was elected statewide in 2008 against Alaskan icon Ted Stevens. Begich won 47.8% and Stevens won 46.5%. This cycle is a bit different, which Silver notes, but it’s not really accurate to say that the best a Democrat can do in Alaska is 35-36%. All that said, if McAdams gets 35-36% of the vote, he has a great shot of winning.

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