REAGAN IS so far ahead that the only thing betting in the Anchorage bars is whether Carter or Libertarian Ed Clark will finish second. Carter will, but the Libertarians will run better here probably than anywhere in the Lower 48.
When former state representative Clark Gruening (D), 37, knocked off Sen. Mike Gravel (D) in the primary, he became the favorite over Frank H. Murkowski (R), 47, a Fairbanks banker. But Murkowski has tried to link Gruening to the unpopular Carter administration position on setting aside large tracts of land for wilderness and parks, citing an "environmental bill of rights" Gruening sponsored in the legislature. Democrats say private polls show Gruening with a wider lead than the 1-point edge in the Anchorage Daily News poll, but the race is so close it could be decided by the "bush vote," where Gruening, like his grandfather, the late Sen. Ernest Gruening (D), has strong support. ARIZONA (6)
REAGAN LEADS Carter by a 2-1 margin in last Sunday's Arizona Republic and KOOL poll, but a 22 percent undecided vote could trim his margin.
The same poll showed Sen. Barry M. Goldwater (R), 71, leading Bill Schulz (D), 49, by a 50-35 margin. But with a sampling error of 6 points the race could be as close as 44-41 Goldwater -- which is just about what Schulz claims his polls show. The wealthy Scottsdale developer has put about $1.3 million of his own money into the uphill race and has forced Goldwater to scramble for funds. The main issue is Goldwater's age and vigor, and while the former presidential nominee still has a pilot's license, he has misheard questions at televised candidate forums and he limps from hip surgery. Republicans say that Goldwater's support has firmed up well and he is expected back.
Health is also a factor in the main House race, pitting Rep. Morris K. Udall (D), chairman of the House Interior Committee, against Richard H. Huff (R), a Tucson real estate developer. Udall disclosed recently that he has a mild case of Parkinson's disease and arthritis, but the poll showed he had increased his margin to 57-30 after the disclosure. As with Goldwater, most figure he "shall return." CALIFORNIA (45)
REAGAN IS HOLDING ON in an ever-closer fight for his home state's vital store of votes. The margin in successive polls by three different organizations has declined from 9 points to 7 to 4, while Anderson's support has continued to drop. Carter has never won a California election and Reagan has never lost one. Both men will close their campaigns here, but anything but a Reagan win would be the upset of the day.
Senate Majority Whip Alan Cranston (D), 66, has an insurmountable lead on tax-cut promoter Paul Gann (R), 68, in every poll.
In a slew of hard-fought House races, the most endangered incumbent may be Rep. Harold T. (Bizz) Johnson (D), chairman of the House Public Works Committee, who is trailing Assemblyman Eugene A. Chapple (R) by 3 points in a new Sacramento Bee poll. Others with tough races include Rep. Robert K. Dornan (R) in a rematch with Carey Peck (D), son of actor Gregory Peck; Rep. James C. Corman (D), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, who has reportedly gained ground against antibusing Los Angeles school board member Bobbi Fiedler (R); and Rep. John L. Burton (D), who is battling for support in San Francisco's gay community with Dennis McQuaid (R). Rep. Don H. Clausen (R), in danger earlier, appears to be winning a ninth term, but Republicans still worry about the seat of retiring Rep. Bob Wilson (R), where State Sen. Bob Wilson (D) is holding out against the well financed closing drive of San Diego Deputy Mayor Bill Lowery (R) and his committee of "Bob Wilsons for Lowery." COLORADO (7)
TODAY'S DENVER POST poll shows some narrowing in Reagan's margin but he leads by 10 points among all voters and by 19 among the most likely voters, so the outcome is not in doubt.
The same cannot be said of the race between Sen. Gary Hart (D), 42, and Secretary of State Mary Estill Buchanan (R), 45. Buchanan, a moderate, emerged as a heroine from her surprise victory in the GOP primary and soared into an early lead. But Hart, with six years' Senate experience, has exploited gaps in her knowledge during their debates and she has been impelled to personalize the campaign against him in TV ads. Hart climbed to a tie in the Denver Post poll among all voters and was trailing by 2 points among the most likely, but the momentum seems to be moving his way.
The poll shows freshman Rep. Ray Kogovsek (D) is ahead in his rematch with State Sen. Harold McCormick (R), who missed by only 366 votes last time. The seat vacated by retiring Rep. James P. Johnson (R) seems ticketed for former state senator Hank Brown. HAWAII (4)
CARTER HAD a squeaker in 1976 and Republicans claim it is tightening again -- particularly on Oahu.But a massive get-out-the-vote drive and overwhelming Democratic strength should carry Carter in on the coattails of the all-Democratic congressional delegation. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D), 56, who just missed an 83 percent victory in 1974, should romp to a fourth term over Cooper Brown (R), 31, a Honolulu and environmentalist. IDAHO (4)
DESPITE SOME movement from Anderson to Carter, today's poll in the Boise Idaho Statesman has Reagan with a 51-24 lead.
The big news is that the same poll shows Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Frank Church (D), 56, has moved from a 2-point to a 9-point lead over conservative Rep. Steven D. Symms (R), 42. The $3 million battle is probably closer than that, but the contest has so polarized the state that presidential coattails are not likely to be a major influence, and Church is a slight favorite.
In the race for Symms' House seat, the poll shows Glenn W. Nichols (D) has climbed within 10 points of State Sen. Larry Craig (R) on the publicity he received by walking the 970-mile district, but Craig is still the likely winner. MONTANA (4)
THE RECENT UPSURGE in Carter strength, keyed to the popularity of the China wheat deal, has some Democrats wishing they had not written off the state earlier. But it still is counted in Reagan's column.
Lt. Gov. Ted Schwinden (D), 55, is a solid favorite to follow up his primary victory over Gov. Thomas L. Judge (D) by defeating State Rep. Jack Ramirez (R), 41. No change is expected in the House delegation of one Democrat and one Republican. NEVADA (3)
A TRIPLE LANDSLIDE appears to be in the making: Reagan over Carter; Sen. Paul Laxalt (R), 58, for a second term over former state senator Mary Gojack (D), 44; and Rep. Jim Santini (D) for the lone House seat. NEW MEXICO (4)
REAGAN'S LEAD has been holding steady in the 10-point range, with no great show of enthusiasm for either candidate. Some Democrats think a stronger effort for Carter might have paid dividends, but an upset seems remote.
A legal battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court left David King (D), state finance secretary and nephew of Gov. Bruce King (D), the only name on the ballot for the House vacancy created by the death Aug. 5 of Rep. Harold Runnels (D). But there is widespread resentment over the ruling, and both Dorothy Runnels, the widow and an independent, and former state senator Joe Skeen (R) are running write-in campaigns. The difficulty of a write-in on the voting machines makes King the favorite, but polls show both Runnels and Skeen are preferred to King -- if people make the effort to give them their votes. OREGON (6)
THE FORECAST is for rain on Monday (as usual) but both Carter and Reagan will do Portland fly-ins as they battle for the edge in this small state. The race closed up in mid-October when Reagan said funny things about trees -- a big item in ecological Oregon, and a statewide poll for the Oregonian showed Carter 2 points up. Democrats say the lead survived the post-debate Reagan surge, but are worried about the Anderson vote which, while dropping, remains over 10 percent. In 1976, when independent Eugene J. McCarthy took only 4 percent of the vote, Carter lost by 1,713 votes. This time, even some Republicans are betting he ekes out a win.
Eking is not the favorite fashion of Sen. Bob Packwood (R), 48, and breezing is a better description of his third-term campaign against State Sen. Ted Kulongoski (D), 39. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Al Ullman (D) seems to be disposing of the widely publicized challenge from publisher Denny Smith (R) but Rep. James Weaver (D) still has his troubles with County Commissioner Michael Fitzgerald (R). Portland attorney Ron Wyden (D) defeated Rep. Bob Duncan (D) in the primary and is a cinch to win over draftsman Darrell R. Conger (R). UTAH (4)
THERE WAS NEVER much doubt about the three races atop the Utah ballot and there still isn't. Reagan towers over Carter like the Wasatch Range over Great Salt Lake; Sen. Jake Garn (R), 48, looks down on attorney Dan Berman (D), 45, from equally lofty polls as he heads toward a second term. The only Democrat enjoying such eminence is Gov. Scott M. Matheson, 51, comfortably ahead of former state GOP chairman Bob Wright, 45, in his second-term contest.
Republicans feel increasingly hopeful about the chances that State House Speaker James V. Hansen (R) may upset five-term Rep. Gunn McKay (D), but polls show McKay clinging to a narrow lead. WASHINGTON (9)
AS IN OREGON, chances of an upset are tempting enough to lure Carter into a last-day campaign stop, and the polls are so close that the size of Anderson's vote will probably be critical. A tossup.
The top state races have been on opposite tracks. Sen. Warren G. Magnuson (D), 75, who appears to be ripe for the picking by Attorney General Slade Gorton (R), 52, has mobilized the state Democratic Party and used slyly self-deprecating humor to defuse the age issue in his TV spots. The GOP says Gorton is still virtually even but Magnuson appears more likely than a month ago to get his seventh term.
State Sen. James A. McDermott (D), 43, jumped ahead in the gubernatorial race after upsetting Gov. Dixy Lee Ray (D) in the mid-September primary, but he is having a hard time holding his lead over King County Executive John Spellman (R), 53. Spellman has attacked child psychiatrist McDermott as "a liberal shrink from Seattle," and has closed from a 17-point to a 2-point deficit in the Seattle Times poll. Spellman, who lost the governorship to Ray four years ago, could find the second time lucky.
In House races, the most likely switch could come in Rep. Mike McCormack's (D) race with State Sen. Sid Morrison (R). WYOMING (3)
IF YOU READ this regional wrapup alphabetically, there is no suspense left when you come to Wyoming. The state is branded GOP-80. Reagan's only frustration is that he probably cannot outdraw Rep.-at-large Richard B. Cheney (R), whose opponent is a motel-bar owner with $1,000 left to spend on his race.