Incredible: Gasline corporation says 78 percent of Alaskans favor project - Must Read Alaska
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Incredible: Gasline corporation says 78 percent of Alaskans favor project

The Alaska Gasline Development Corporation board of directors yesterday learned that the staff of the agency commissioned a poll to determine how the project is faring in the hearts and minds of the voting public. And how to make it fare better in those hearts and minds.

It wasn’t exactly a push poll. The agency is message testing: trying to figure out how to convince the public to have some confidence in the project, and to determine which messages work on Alaskans.

According to the poll, 78 percent of Alaskans would favor the gasline once they are told it will bring jobs, a strong economy, cheaper energy for Alaskans, and will provide cleaner energy in general.

The poll is not being done in a vacuum, but is being used to develop an advertising campaign directed at Alaskans.

 

POLL IS PARALLEL TO CAMPAIGNING

The ad campaign to shore up support for the gasline will occur during the same cycle as Gov. Bill Walker’s re-election campaign. The gasline is the governor’s signature project that he ran on in 2014, but it has met with strong marketplace headwinds. The world is increasingly awash in natural gas and buyers are no longer engaging in the long-term contracts needed to build the AK-LNG project.

A year ago, a Dittman Research poll of 700 Alaskans showed that 44 percent of Alaskans said a gas line “will never happen,” and 42 percent said they thought the project was “getting closer.” The remaining respondents were undecided.

But public perception of the project’s future has darkened dramatically: Today, according to the most recent Dittman poll, 69 percent of Alaskans believe the gasline isn’t going to happen — at least not in the foreseeable future.

 

The public is very likely right about the project’s dim outlook. Yet, the AGDC is contemplating an expensive statewide ad campaign to promote the project, the timing for which just happens to coincide neatly with the Walker-Mallott re-election campaign.

Last week, AGDC Board President Dave Cruz scolded members of the Alaska Legislature and the media for expressing skepticism about the project, saying, “The world is watching us. This is not just some little project in Alaska that the world doesn’t know about. And every local news story that is picked up by our industry and world press it places a great challenge on our team when they have to first defend the project against the negative comments before being able to sell it on its merits.”

AGDC spokesperson Rosetta Alcantra in May said that the Senate’s attempts to cut the budget of AGDC and use the funds for public safety and education was unhelpful to the project.

“You know, there’s a lot of positive movement out there and from the perspective of potential customers, I don’t think that helps the message,” she said.

AGDC President Keith Meyer is in Asia, where he has spent much of the year looking for a buyer for Alaska’s gas. He missed the legislative update meeting last week and the AGDC board meeting on Monday.

The agency is burning through $3 million a month in State money.

[Read: ADGC to go it alone on gasline]

 

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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

  • I keep offering to bet people in the Walker Administration – my house against their house – that humans will walk on Mars before a gas line takes NS natural gas to tidewater in Southcentral. So far no one has taken the bet, and most or all have said I would easily win that bet. I haven’t asked Governor Walker however. He very much doesn’t own the house in Juneau.

  • Of course people would say they support it if you only tell them about the possible benefits, while neglecting to tell them it will bankrupt the state by loosing millions year after year. Natural gas can be purchased from dozens of suppliers and many of them have lower operating costs than a producers in Alaska would have. It’s simple math.

  • Forget Slope gas. Built a pipeline from Cook Inlet to the Interior and let the EPA help finance it under threat of penalty for clean air violations.

    But seriously, there is something horribly wrong when a state with so much potential in the form of energy resources has to import so much of it’s refined energy from points in the Lower-48. Surely there has to be a way we could replace heating oil, which sells for $5-7/gallon, or more in the roadless parts of the state, with some form of more local energy.

  • So they are using the money we give them to convince us we want it.

  • I’m pretty sure I was one of the 700 that participated. The questions and possible answers were very much designed to achieve the results AGDC wanted. It was a bogus poll.

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