New poll finds Sullivan ahead in race to keep U.S. Senate seat

Senator Dan Sullivan speaking to the media
Sen. Dan Sullivan (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan is leading challenger Al Gross in a new poll of likely Alaska voters.

The New York Times/Siena College poll released Friday says Sullivan, a Republican, is ahead of Gross, 45% to 37%. 

Other polls had suggested the Senate race was tighter. 

A Harstad Strategic Research poll from earlier in the week found Gross ahead by 1 percentage point, but the the New York Times/Siena College poll is highly rated for its methods, winning an A+ grade from FiveThirtyEight.com.

Outside groups have been pouring millions of dollars into the race in recent weeks. Democrats sensed it might be a chance to pick up a Senate seat and Republicans feared Sullivan was in danger.

The same New York Times/Siena College poll found Congressman Don Young, a Republican, ahead of independent Alyse Galvin, 49% to 41%. She lost to him two years ago by about that margin.

The sample size was small, just 423 likely voters. The New York Times’ Nate Cohn said it was the pollster’s first attempt to gauge public opinion in the state, and on Twitter he acknowledged trouble reaching the target number of rural and Native voters.

The poll was conducted Oct. 9-14. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.7