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A handful of polls in the Alaska race for U.S. Senate out late last week and early this week showed numbers unexpectedly favorable to incumbent Democrat Sen. Mark Begich, who’d consistently trailed Republican Challenger Dan Sullivan in recent polls.

That prompted polling site FiveThirtyEight, which had previously written about the problems Alaska poses for pollsters, to write that “If there’s a race that keeps us awake at night, it’s Alaska.”

And while the new polls seem to show a surge for Begich FiveThirtyEight cautions observers to be skeptical. For one thing “Public sentiment almost never shifts so much so quickly in a general election, especially this late in the race, without major precipitating news events” FiveThirtyEight points out. For another, errors in Alaska polls have tended to show Democrats doing better than they end up doing in the actually election results.

Then again, they acknowledge, there are factors -- such as Alaska's grueling “ground game” -- that can make a difference in the other direction.

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