A new poll shows that the two longtime elected officials from Alaska, Sen. Ted Stevens (R) and Rep. Don Young (R), face serious obstacles to winning re-election.
Stevens trails Anchorage mayor Mark Begich (D), 51 to 44 percent in the poll, while holding fairly high disapproval ratings. While 49 percent of respondents said they hold a positive opinion of Stevens, 40 percent expressed a negative opinion. By contrast, 58 percent of respondents viewed Begich favorably, with only 16 percent holding a negative opinion.
Young is in even worse shape. The 17-term congressman trails former state Rep. Ethan Berkowitz, his likely Democratic opponent, by a 20-point margin – 58 to 38 percent. A 52 percent majority of voters said they held a negative opinion of Young, while Berkowitz holds strong favorable ratings.
The poll was conducted by the Anchorage firm Hellenthal and Associates, and was paid for by an Alaska-based lobbyist. It surveyed 269 likely Alaska voters between May 6-10, and has a 6 percent margin of error.
Stevens and Young have spent the past year bedeviled by ethics investigations. Last summer, Stevens’ house was raided by federal agents as a result of an influence-peddling scandal involving the oil services company VECO. He is also under federal investigation for his role in directing federal funds to a nonprofit run by a former aide.
Young is also under investigation by the Justice Department over his ties to VECO, and has spent more than $1.1 million in campaign funds this election cycle on legal fees. Both Stevens and Young have denied any wrongdoing.
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