WALKER POLL: ‘MY NUMBER IS BIGGER THAN YOUR NUMBER’
Mark Begich and Gov. Bill Walker don’t agree on much these days as they vie for the title of Governor of Alaska, but they finally agree on one thing: Mike Dunleavy is still leading the race for governor.
Begich put out a poll last week that said he is “number 2” with voters, after Dunleavy. Walker is “number 3.” The poll was paid for by the Alaska Correctional Officers Association, and conducted by Ivan Moore.
Now Walker has countered with a new poll by Patinkin Research out of Portland that says Walker, in fact , is “number 2” and Begich is “number 3”. Earlier this year, Patinkin said Walker was way ahead — with 40 percent of potential voters to Dunleavy’s 17 percent.
“Right now, they’re playing a game of chicken,” said a political strategist familiar with the races. “Begich and Walker each want the other to get out of the race. They can’t win in a three-way.”
Earlier this year, Gov. Walker’s campaign manager John-Henry Heckendorn told a reporter that he “likes a head-to-head match with Dunleavy.”
That was before Begich got in the race.
Begich, a high school graduate, is challenging Doctorate of Jurisprudence Walker for the “progressive vote,” and they’re both trying to get into each other’s heads with dueling polls, which they release with campaign donation solicitations.
Begich and Walker are both millionaires who could self-fund their races, but both are increasing their criticism of Dunleavy for having an independent expenditure group working on his behalf, something neither of the other candidates have. Dunleavy is, according to his financial filings, not in the same financial league as Begich and Walker, but he has a brother who has supported his campaign.
Like the Patinkin poll done for Walker earlier this year, the Begich camp released a wintertime poll showing he would beat Dunleavy, 53-42 in a two-way.
But here’s the rub: Begich and Walker have stopped talking two-way, and have begun to release only three-way polling results.
The poll numbers released by the Walker camp today said that with Begich in the mix, Dunleavy is still ahead, with 36 percent of the vote.
Heckendorn, who went on the state payroll as a top aide to Walker for a year before jumping out of state service to become his campaign manager, wrote a letter to the Walker base of supporters today intended to strengthen their spines in the final four weeks before primary voting begins. He said:
“At the end of June we concluded a baseline survey of 800 likely voters around the state. There is no question that we are in a dogfight. This most recent poll showed prospective Republican nominees Dunleavy/Meyer at 36%, Independents Walker/Mallott at 28%, and Democrats Begich/Call at 22%, with 15% of voters still undecided.
“Our poll differed from other recently publicized polls in that we polled likely 2018 voters, rather than the entire pool of registered voters, and because we tested the Lt. Governor candidates alongside the candidates for Governor, rather than limiting the question to only the candidates for Governor.
“A three-way race was always going to be complicated, our political system is not designed for general election races with more than two well-known, well-funded candidates. But we have a lot of reason for optimism:
- “First, Alaskans are hungry for a credible fiscal plan. After spending more than $600,000 in outside dollars to deliver a message of unsustainable dividends and unspecified spending cuts, our leading opponent has mustered little more than one third of the electorate. Alaskans are hungry for a credible fiscal plan that establishes a viable longterm path to growth. We are the only team in this race that has presented such a plan and that has put in the work to move that plan forward. We have alredy closed 80% of the fiscal gap. Once we hit our fundraising goals, we are ready and excited to bring that message to Alaskans.
- “Second, more engaged voters back Walker Mallott. We are the only team in this race with meaningful cross-party support. Polling shows that our opponents remain extremely limited to their partisan bases. Results have consistently demonstrated that more engaged voters with stronger voting track records are more likely to support Walker Mallott, across all party affiliations.
- “Third, Alaskans want Independent leadership. The polling indicates that Alaskans, like Americans all over the country, are sick and tired of political posturing and partisan gridlock. There is an enormous appetite in America and in Alaska for leaders who are honest, authentic, and willing to prioritize the long-term future over short-term political points. We are the only team in this race with those priorities and that record. “
The message that voters are receiving from this Walker campaign donation might be different from the one Heckendorn intends.
- Walker is worried going into this election.
- The leading candidate, Dunleavy, already has locked up well over over a third of the vote, even according to Walker and Begich’s own skewed polling.
- Walker is uncomfortable competing in a three-way, calling it “complicated.”
- The incumbent governor, who is the most unpopular governor in America according to the Morning Consult poll, has barely over one quarter of the vote in his own Patinkin Research survey.
The last poll conducted by Dunleavy for Alaska showed Dunleavy is beating Walker, 47-41 percent in a head-to-head.