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Several Senate races tighten; write-in Lisa Murkowski closes on Republican Joe Miller [Update]

September 29, 2010 |  3:44 pm

Alaska Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller

For all the talk about some kind of a Republican tide scheduled for the Nov. 2 midterm elections, there sure are an ample number of close races remaining, and some Democrats are easing on ahead.

A new CNN/Time/Public Opinion Research Poll Wednesday shows two Republicans leading the three-way tilt for Alaska's U.S. Senate seat. Joe Miller, the GOP primary winner, has acquired 38% of likely voters' backing, while incumbent Lisa Murkowski has 36%, which is within the survey's margin of error.

Twenty-two percent say they favor Democrat Scott McAdam.

Murkowski, of course, is the incumbent now rebellious write-in candidate rejected by GOP primary voters. So she must convince sufficient registered voters to write in something fairly resembling that last name of hers, which is....

...also familiar up there from her father's long run in state politics. It now appears that more than a third of Democratic voters have written off McAdam and intend to go with Murkowski to block the Sarah Palin-"tea party"-backed Miller.

In Illinois, where Roland Burris has occupied the Senate seat even less time than Barack Obama did, CNN finds another statistical dead heat with North Shore Republican Rep. Mark Kirk at 42% and state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias at 43% and a Green Party person, LeAlan Jones, at 8%. As in Alaska, only 4% of Illinois voters profess to be undecided.

[For the record, 4:45 p.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly gave LeAlan Jones' name as LeAnn Jones.]

The Florida governor's race is also tight with Republican Rick Scott at 47% and Democrat Alex Sink  at 45%.

For the state's about-to-be open Senate seat, Republican Marco Rubio has opened an 11-point lead, 42- to 31, over newly discovered independent Charlie Crist. Regular Democrat Kendrick Meek, who's backed by ex-President Clinton and current President Obama, trails at 25%.

In California, three out four voters say the state is on the wrong track. But disaffected Democrats still seem determined to drift back home to incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer and Jerry "I'd Like to Be Governor Again" Brown. A number of recent polls show Republicans Carly Fiorina now trailing Boxer and Meg Whitman behind Brown.

Noted pollster Stephen Kinney has advised clients to watch the revealing number of voters opting for a third-party choice in the Fiorina-Boxer race, now at 12%.

Although the numbers will surely bob and weave in the remaining 34 campaign days, sage political prognosticator Stuart Rothenberg notes the last month of autumn American campaigns have become significantly less important with the explosion of early voting, now offered by more than 30 states. Some begin as early as next week.

That kind of voting locks in early leaders and pushes back into August and September the window of opportunity for candidates to change the dynamics of individual races.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Alaska U.S. Senate hopeful Joe Miller. Credit: Bob Hallinen / MCT