Sen. Lisa Murkowski tackles challenges of a write-in campaign


Recent polls in Alaska suggest that incumbent, primary-losing Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has a chance to prevail in November despite her current party-outsider status. But the nature of a write-in effort is causing some to question the poll results, and is affecting the content of her advertising.

The problem with the polling is that those asking the questions are said to be bringing up the names of the candidates: Joe Miller for the Republicans, Scott McAdams for the Democrats and Murkowski as a third write-in option, according to Washington Post reporter Chris Cillizza.

The reason the poll results must be questioned is that they bring up Murkowski’s name, whereas the actual ballot used on Election Day will not. It’s one thing for a respondent to name her when prompted; quite another to do so without any cues.

And since her name won’t be on the ballot, and because she is relying on voters to actually write in her name, part of her campaign advertising budget is being spent simply to give voters in Alaska spelling lessons so they get her name right when they go into the poll booth.

According to Cillizza, the last write-in candidate to successfully win a seat in the Senate was South Carolina’s Strom Thurmond, back in 1954.