Stevens Plummets in Post-Indictment Poll

Posted August 1, 2008 at 2:49pm

Indicted Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) has dropped far behind in the general election but maintains his lead in this month’s primary, according to polling data from both before and after the Alaska legend was indicted on seven felony counts earlier this week.

The Ivan Moore Research poll taken July 30-31 showed Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D) leading Stevens, 56 percent to 35 percent, with more than 5 percent undecided.

A survey by the same pollster from July 18-22 — before the indictments were handed down — showed Begich leading Stevens, 51 percent to 43 percent.

The earlier poll had a sample size of 504 registered voters statewide and a margin of error of 4.4 points. The later survey, taken just over a day after news of Stevens’ indictments broke, polled 413 registered voters with a 4.8-point margin of error.

The poll also showed an 11-point drop in Stevens’ approval rating: From the first survey to the second survey, the percentage of people who had a positive impression of Stevens decreased from 55 percent to 44 percent.

The Department of Justice announced Tuesday that Stevens had been indicted on seven felony counts for allegedly lying on his Senate financial disclosure forms. The trial, for which Stevens pleaded not guilty, is set for Sept. 24 — about a month after the primary, but six weeks before the general election.

Though Stevens faces six opponents in the Aug. 26 Republican primary, the poll showed him with a handsome lead over businessman Dave Cuddy, his chief competition. In the same July 30-31 survey, which polled 219 Republicans about the primary, Stevens scored 59 percent and Cuddy had 19 percent with about 20 percent undecided.

Begich might also be at an advantage because Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) appears to be waging a competitive campaign in the state — the first time a Democratic presidential candidate has done so in decades.

A separate Ivan Moore Research Poll of 504 likely voters on July 18-22 showed Obama trailing presumptive GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), 47 percent to 44 percent, with 9 percent undecided.