GOP challenger Dan Sullivan leads Mark Begich in Alaska Senate race

A new poll from CNN/ORC shows GOP challenger Dan Sullivan leading Sen. Mark Begich by 6 percentage points.

Story highlights

  • Democratic Sen. Mark Begich is trailing GOP challenger Dan Sullivan, 50%-44%.
  • The Alaska Senate race is key to Republicans' hopes of winning control of the chamber.
  • GOP Gov. Sean Parnell trails his challenger by 6%.
Alaska's Senate race is an increasingly prime pickup opportunity for Republicans, with Democratic Sen. Mark Begich trailing challenger Dan Sullivan by 6 percentage points, a new CNN/ORC International Poll shows.
Sullivan earned 50% support compared to 44% for Begich, according to the survey of 704 likely voters that was conducted October 1-6. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 points.
The race is key for Republicans who hope to gain control of the Senate by capturing at least six seats currently held by Democrats. It looks increasingly important as Democrats pump resources into states like Kansas and South Dakota that weeks ago looked like GOP locks.
Hampering Begich are underwater favorability ratings, with 45% of those surveyed offering a positive opinion of the first-term senator and 52% saying they view him unfavorably.
Sullivan, meanwhile, is viewed favorably by 53% of Alaska's likely voters, while 41% say they have unfavorable opinions of the former state attorney general and current commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources.
Sullivan leads Begich 50% to 45% in Anchorage, the city Begich previously led for two terms as mayor.
Perhaps more daunting for Begich: Unlike most Democrats, he fares no better among women (44%) than he does men (45%).
"Begich is losing on his home turf, and he is not winning among women, a weakness that few Democrats can overcome on Election Day," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
Republicans could gain a Senate seat, but they look just as likely to lose the governor's office.
Independent Bill Walker looks positioned to knock off incumbent Republican Gov. Sean Parnell, leading 51% to 45% among likely voters -- with no Democratic candidate in the race to split the anti-Parnell votes. The party's nominee, Byron Mallott, dropped out to become Walker's running mate.