FiveThirtyEight Thinks Alaska Senate Could Go Blue
Because early, absentee and provisional votes seem to favor challenger Mark Begich (pictured above).
Analysis from Nate Silver:
Although Ted Stevens currently holds a lead of approximately 3,200 votes in ballots counted to date in Alaska’s senate contest, there is good reason to believe that the ballots yet to be counted — the vast majority of which are early and absentee ballots — will allow Mark Begich to mitigate his disadvantage with Stevens and quite possibly pull ahead of him.
The reasoning behind this is simple: some early ballots have been processed, and among those ballots Begich substantially leads Stevens. A tally of Alaska’s 40 house districts as taken from Alaska’s Division of Elections webpage suggests that Begich has won about 61% of the early ballots counted so far, as compared with 48% of ballots cast on Election Day itself. […]
There are currently at least 9,500 early votes remaining to be counted in Alaska. In addition, there are more than 50,000 absentee votes, which are essentially early votes conducted by mail. Lastly, there are at least 18,000 “question” or “questioned” ballots, which consist principally of voters who may have cast ballots away from their home precincts.
So those are the predictions. But let’s say that Stevens wins. What then?
Well, regardless of what other outlets tell you, Sarah Palin can’t appoint herself Senator when Ted Stevens is forced to step down (if he wins).
Instead there will be a new election and Palin could certainly enter the race if she has 2012 aspirations. The question then is, “Does she want to?” My guess would be no. She’s much better positioned to stay mostly out of the public eye, work on energy issues up in Alaska and continue to make targeted trips down to the lower 48 throughout the next 3 years. That way she maintains a “reformer” image by not participating in the partisan game that is the Senate.
So that’s my take. What do you think?