Poll: Sen. Begich early favorite for re-election in Alaska

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Alaska's highest profile political figure — former governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin — trails Begich by 16 percentage points in a hypothetical matchup.

One Alaska Republican would begin a 2014 matchup dead even with Begich: current Gov. Sean Parnell. But, the survey found only one in 10 Alaskan voters wanted to see Parnell make a Senate bid, with the vast majority — including 56 percent of Republicans — hoping Parnell will instead make another bid for the governor's mansion.

Parnell is also the heavy favorite for re-election as governor, leading potential Democratic candidates by anywhere between 9 and 26 percentage points.

"The Alaska Senate race is certainly likely to be close next year," PPP director Tom Jensen said in a release. "But Mark Begich has proven to be pretty popular during his first term, and he won't be easy to defeat."

Begich won election in 2008 in a showdown with Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), the longest-serving Republican senator in history. Stevens was convicted in a federal corruption trial days before the election, effectively dooming his chances of re-election; the indictment was later dismissed when the Justice Department found evidence of prosecutorial misconduct.