Wednesday, August 25, 2010

AP 'Surprised' Palin-Backed Candidate Leads in Alaska

They're surprised in the way bad economic news of late is reported as unexpected. Why they heck would they be surprised that a strong Tea Party candidate in Alaska endorsed by Sarah Palin could actually unseat incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski?
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski was locked in a tight race Tuesday to hold on to her seat amid a surprisingly tough challenge from a Sarah Palin-backed conservative.

Joe Miller held a nearly 2,300-vote lead with about half the precincts reporting as the decorated Gulf War veteran looked to pull off one of the biggest political upsets of the year.

Miller had 51.8 percent of the vote, compared with 48.1 percent for Murkowski.

Miller sought to cast Murkowski as being too liberal and part of the problem in an out-of-control Washington. It is a campaign strategy that has helped oust other incumbents this year.
It's a strategy that will result in a bloodbath for Democrats come November, which will then be reported as an unexpected surprise by the AP. But that's the national media template when it comes to Palin. Any time a candidate she backs wins it's a surprise to them and then quickly chalked up to anti-incumbent fervor sweeping the land. It's on those rare occasions one of her pick loses when it's really news to them and we're told she has zero influence.

Here's a more reality-based report from Alaska.
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski was battling for her political life against Republican primary challenger Joe Miller on Tuesday night. Miller was barely leading Murkowski with just over half Alaska's election precincts reporting around 11:30 p.m. Miller had 32,955 votes to 30,605 for Murkowski. Miller credited the support of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for his lead.

"I'm absolutely certain that was pivotal," he said.

Murkowski took a shot at Palin.

"I think she's out for her own self-interest. I don't think she's out for Alaska's interest," Murkowski said as she waited at her campaign headquarters for results to come in,

Miller made a triumphant entrance to election central at the Egan center in downtown Anchorage Tuesday night, surrounded by loudly cheering supporters with red-white-and-blue balloons.

"We did it!" one shouted.

Murkowski didn't come to election central, the traditional celebratory venue for Alaska candidates. She stayed in her campaign headquarters in Midtown Anchorage to watch the returns come in.

The final results of the race won't be known for a week. The Alaska Division of Elections said over 16,000 absentee ballots were requested and as of Monday night 7,600 had been returned. The first count of absentees will be next Tuesday and there will be subsequent counts as they trickle in on Sept. 3 and on Sept. 8,

The winner of the Murkowski-Miller race will face Democrat Scott McAdams in the November general election. McAdams, the mayor of Sitka, had a big lead in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate Tuesday night against Frank Vondersaar and Jacob Seth Kern.

Palin and the Tea Party Express made a big push to convince Alaskans to dump Murkowski for Miller. Polls had shown Murkowski with a big lead just three weeks ago. But Miller supporters had thought it was narrowing and were expressing confidence earlier in the day Tuesday that they would be pulling off an upset.

This was the first test of Palin's influence on Alaska politics since she resigned as governor last summer, and the first sign of how influential the Tea Party movement can be in shaping political races in this state. The race was being closely watched nationally as a sign of Palin and the Tea Party's strength, but also because Murkowski is one of the leading Republicans in the Senate.
Charles Krauthammer explains the Palin effect, and even he got the Miller-Murkowski race wrong (via Tammy Bruce, who's got more good election news).

Ace notes some other folks who should be very surprised today.
They're wish-casting. They are not telling you any sort of objective reasonable assessment of likelihood; they are just telling you what their shriveled black hearts wish would happen.

This is 60% of media "horse-race" coverage; it's 40% genuine likelihood-assessment by checking with statisticians and pollsters, and it's 60% just wish-casting. I want Joe Miller to lose because she was endorsed by Sarah Palin and I hate her, so of course that's what I think will happen.

They're not broadcasters, they're wishcasters. They're so partisan they can't even separate this function out from their driving rah-rah impulse.

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