Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D) now leads by eight percentage points in his bid to unseat the now-convicted Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) next week.

In the first independent poll since Stevens's felony conviction earlier this week for making false statements, 52 percent of Alaskans said they would vote for Begich. 42 percent still back Stevens, the 84-year-old Alaskan icon who has served in the Senate for 40 years. Two percent of voters said they were undecided.

Polling preceding Stevens's conviction indicated a narrow race, as Stevens had made up ground against Begich after polls following his late July indictment showed Stevens trailing badly. Since Stevens's conviction Monday, just over half of Alaskans--52 percent--have said Stevens should resign. John McCain and Republican Senate leaders have all called on Stevens to step down, as has Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska.

The poll, conducted October 28 by Rasmussen, shows Stevens with a 43 to 55 favorable-to-unfavorable rating among Alaskans following his trial. 57 percent of voters said they view Begich favorably.

The Rasmussen poll has a 4.5 percent margin of error.

-Michael O'Brien