On the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, election prognosticators said that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is not a shoo-in for winning this year’s election for Alaska’s lone congressional seat, open since Rep. Don Young died on March 18.
“It’s been nearly 14 years since Sarah Palin rocketed to one of the best-known and most polarizing politicians in the country as John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 presidential election,” said Galen Druke, FiveThirtyEight’s podcast producer and reporter.
Since then, Palin has hinted at comebacks, but her decision to run in this year’s U.S. House election is her first return to electoral politics.
The FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast analysts explain why Palin may not be a shoo-in for the seat left behind when Rep. Don Young died in March. For one thing, she quit the job as governor when the going got tough.
The analysts cited top-line finding from an Alaska Survey Research poll from last October, which tested Palin’s chances against Sen. Lisa Murkowski. The survey found that just 31 percent of Alaskans have a favorable opinion of Palin. That’s the same approximate rating found by the Must Read Alaska poll, conducted by by the national pollster Remington Research Group last week:
“Among broader electorate, she might have issues. She’s not terribly popular,” said Sarah Frostenson, FiveThirtyEight’s politics editor. With the new election system, including an open primary and ranked choice voting general election, “she may not be able to build the coalition she needs to win statewide.”
In the primary, all candidates run together, then appear on the general election ballot in ranked choice voting.
If Palin is the lone republican against a democrat, she’ll win, but if up against a more moderate republican, the electorate could team up against her. But with such a fast turnaround on the special election, Palin has the advantage at least at the beginning, because some of the other candidates don’t have well-known names.
The group acknowledged Alaska’s election system is now very confusing under Ballot Measure 2, and that there are other Republicans in the race and the 2020 Democratic nominee Al Gross.
Nate Silver, who runs the FiveThirtyEight, posted an explanation of Palin’s challenges in this video:
FiveThirtyEight is a website that focuses on opinion poll analysis, politics, economics, and sports blogging.