Debate: Exit poll shows Dunleavy, Begich strength - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, September 20, 2021
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Debate: Exit poll shows Dunleavy, Begich strength

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Mike Dunleavy answers a question about whether he would repeal SB 91, while Mark Begich and Bill Walker ponder their response. Gov. Walker was a no.


According to an informal sidewalk poll conducted at the exit of Wednesday’s gubernatorial forum at Anchorage’s Coast International Inn, 60 percent said candidate Mike Dunleavy won the debate by, 40 percent gave the win to Mark Begich, but not a single participant said that Gov. Bill Walker won.

The three major candidates for governor appeared before 125 Alaskans from the real estate and home mortgage industry in a lunchtime forum that some observers say was the best one yet.

The questions ranged from curbing crime to the Permanent Fund dividend calculation, and most of the answers were ones the candidates had offered at other debates. But there were surprises:

During the “Yes or No”  paddle round, the first question was whether candidates support “sanctuary cities,” where illegal immigrants can hide from federal authorities.

Sanctuary cities: All three held up their “No” paddles, but toward the end of the forum, Walker clarified his answer and said he didn’t support President Donald Trump’s immigration policy. That left his answer in the yes-no paddle round unclear.

Common Core: On whether they support the education program known as Common Core, it was Dunleavy and Begich not favoring Common Core, and Walker favoring it.

Medicaid expansion: Further Medicaid expansion in Alaska had Dunleavy opposing it, but Begich and Walker supporting it.

Logging in the Tongass: Dunleavy favored more logging in the Tongass, while Begich and Walker did not.

Ballot Measure 1: Dunleavy and Walker will vote no on Ballot Measure 1, while Begich will vote yes.

Walker thought he would take the gloves off and ask Dunleavy why he hadn’t attended all of the debates and forums that Walker and Begich had been to over the past few weeks.

The answer was not what Walker had hoped for. It was the smack-down of the day from Dunleavy:

“I think Mark Begich is wondering that same thing, when you skipped out on the primary,” Dunleavy said.

“I’ll tell you where I’ve been. I’ve been to 25 town halls, debates and forums, 36 fairs, festivals, and sporting events, 212 meetings with Alaskans and 100 radio call ins.

“I participated in a hotly contested primary process while you skipped it and Senator Begich has been absent from the discussion for four years.

“I’ve been part of 19 debates in the primary or general. The folks next to me have been to 8 total, each. I’ve been talking with the people of Alaska and listening to their concerns.

“I’d suggest you get out there before Nov. 6th and hear what they have to say,” Dunleavy said.

The applause was spontaneous.

Most of the attack questions from Begich and Walker were pointed at Dunleavy.

In the end, the sidewalk poll sampled 25 percent of attendees, asking them: “Who do you think won the debate?” The result was:

Dunleavy- 15



* Must Read Alaska did not ask First Lady Donna Walker to take the poll as she left the building, but that would have given Walker a 1. The poll was taken as people exited the banquet room, and the question was asked of as many people as possible.

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • OUCH truth hurts

  • No real surprise here.

    Dunleavy is a steadfast supporter of Alaska and its citizens success.

    Begich is a proven Washington Liberal.

    Walker is a clueless, breathtakingly pandering politician.

    Enough said.

    • Really? Dunleavy has spent his entire career feeding at the public trough, while Walker had a successful career prior to becoming Governor.

      • I am not disputing that he had a successful career, but he was a terrible governor for Alaska. He would have been a better fit for California or NewYork. Whether Mr. Dunleavy did public service is irrelevant, it is his policies and integrity that matter to us voters.

      • Walker should have stuck unto his successful career within the private sector, as he has been a complete failure as Governor.

  • Walker is the leased credible Governor Alaska has ever had to suffer through. He says one thing and does another. Alaskans are wise to his ways.
    Begich is well known by Alaskans and also known to say one thing and do another.
    Dunleavy has laid out his beliefs and opinions in many forums. He has been consistent as a candidate and I fully expect him to be straight forward and consistent as Governor.

  • Begich claimed that he was not reelected to the US senate seat because he voted for the Obamacare. Now, he thinks that Alaskans are changing their minds and will be voting for him to be the Governor of Alaska. Wrong, Alaskans see through Begich’s platform the reflection of Obama 8 year fail policy in every turn. Voting yes on Ballot Measure #1 is an example.

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