Murkowski makes no apologies for her voting record, acknowledging that while she's not a guaranteed Republican vote, she votes "with Alaskans' interests 100 percent of the time."
The biggest bloc of voters in the state consider themselves undeclared and nonpartisan; those voters have the option of voting Republican on Tuesday.
"It's much more powerful to say I'm working to reduce spending, deal with our nation's deficit, push back on the federal government, and give specifics for that rather than just say, 'I'm a conservative,'" she said in an interview during a recent campaign stop in Ketchikan, her hometown.
When charter boat operator Jerry Tallman told her she's not as conservative as he, she didn't try to convince him otherwise, instead repeating a version of her fighting-the-feds line. It was good enough for him.
"I guess I'm more for Murkowski (than Miller) because I'm familiar with her and she's done a good job," he said.
In other parts of the state such as Wasilla, the foothold of the nascent tea party movement in Alaska and Palin's hometown, Murkowski is seen by many as a Republican in name only, an obstruction to change in Washington.
She's "at best, a middle-of-the-road conservative," not in sync with the group's espoused fiscally and socially conservative beliefs, said Frank Bettine, a director of the Conservative Patriots Group, which has endorsed Miller.
Miller has picked up a list of boldface endorsements, notably from Palin, Mike Huckabee and the Tea Party Express, a California-based group that's been hitting the air waves and holding rallies.
The group claims at least partial credit for upset wins in other states — Sharron Angle in Nevada and Mike Lee in Utah. But in Alaska, it's drawn smaller crowds — from a handful in Ketchikan to a few dozen in Anchorage — to some of its events and rallies.
When she enters a venue, as on this Ketchikan swing, Murkowski works it with ease, calling people out of the crowd to ask about their profession — "How are things going at the shipyard?" — and listening intently at the folks who stop to talk.
"I should look at her record, but I sort of feel like a lot of people you meet come off as slimy, but she presents herself as genuine," said Ani Drozdowska, 31, a Democrat who likes Murkowski.