Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) is Alaska Republicans' top choice to challenge Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) in 2014, even though she would perform poorly against him in a general election, a Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday found.
Palin was the choice of 36 percent of the Republican primary voters surveyed, but Begich would beat her in a hypothetical match-up, 52-40 percent. While Palin is well-liked among the GOP base, she is unpopular with voters overall, with 58 percent viewing her unfavorably and 39 percent viewing her favorably. Only 47 percent of voters still consider her to be an Alaskan, while 46 percent do not.
Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who has declared his candidacy, is the choice of 26 percent of Alaska Republicans. Treadwell also does the best of any Republican against Begich, earning the support of 40 percent of voters to Begich's 44 percent. Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan, who is a potential candidate, has the support of 15 percent of Republican primary voters, while Joe Miller, who was the tea party-backed Republican Senate nominee in 2010 and is running again in 2014, came in last with 12 percent.
Palin has given little indication that she's planning on running, beyond telling Sean Hannity earlier this month that she's "considered" it.
Begich's race is viewed as one of the most competitive of the 2014 cycle, as he faces reelection in a reliably Republican state. The PPP survey found that 42 percent of voters approve of his job performance, while 41 percent disapprove. President Barack Obama, meanwhile, has the support of 39 percent of Alaskans, while 57 percent disapprove of his performance, according to the poll. Begich has broken with Obama and Democrats nationally on several key issues, including the bipartisan bill strengthening background checks on gun sales, which he voted against.