Is the Tea Party Express Alaska Poll Real?

| Tue Aug. 10, 2010 11:46 AM EDT

On Monday, the Tea Party Express sent out an email blast touting a supposed surge by Joe Miller, the group's preferred candidate in the Alaska Republican senate primary. Miller, the email said, was quickly narrowing the gap with incumbent Republican Lisa Murkowski.

The last public poll had Murkowski crushing Miller by 32 points. But the Tea Party Express says this latest, unnamed poll in Alaska finds Miller within just 9 points a few days before the August 24 primary.

There's one glaring problem, however: outside of the Tea Party Express email, I can't find any evidence that the latest poll even exists. I called Miller's campaign, and his spokesman couldn't tell me who conducted the poll. It's not even linked to on Miller's own website. I would try to contact the Tea Party Express, but every link on the group's website takes you back to the homepage where you're asked to donate, including the link for "Contact" information.

Miller, an attorney with little name recognition, recently got the stamp of approval from former half-term Republican Gov. Sarah Palin, which may account for a jump in the polls. On Monday, he also gained the backing of former Arkansas governor and one-time presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, which may give him an additional boost in certain conservative circles (and, as Politico points out, it's not often that a candidate gets an endorsement from both Palin and Huckabee). The Tea Party Express has made Miller their top priority candidate, along with Nevada candidate Sharron Angle. The group is already running ads in the state attacking "liberal" Lisa Murkowski, and have pledged to spend "hundreds of thousands of dollars" backing Miller in the race.

Perhaps it's no coincidence that the Tea Party Express is using this new "poll" to ramp up the fundraising push for Miller. From the email they sent out yesterday, which is also reprinted here:

During this year the Tea Party Express has helped boost a lot of conservative constitutionalists in key races across the country.

Thanks to your support that looks to be happening once again. One month ago polls showed Liberal RINO, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, with a lead of 32-points over her conservative challenger, tea party hero Joe Miller.

This past weekend we learned of a new poll of 1,223 Alaska voters that showed Joe Miller has now jumped 23-points, and now trails Sen. Murkowski by only 9%.

The election is just 15-days away (August 24th) and we have a chance to win this race and replace a Liberal U.S. Senator (Murkowski) with a conservative patriot (Joe Miller). We need your help now more than ever as we're going to give it everything we've got. We're going to launch a massive radio and TV advertising campaign but we've got to raise $150,000 more in the next 4 days to pay for it.

The poll could be legit, and if it is, perhaps Murkowski has something to be concerned about in the coming primary. But I'll remain skeptical until I see some sort of evidence the poll actually exists.