Leaderboard: Peltola’s margin grows; can Palin catch her?

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Another tranche of special general election ballots has been counted, raising temporary congressional candidate Mary Peltola to 70,730 total votes, or 39.25%. This puts her 8 points ahead of Sarah Palin, who has 56,246 votes, or 31.21%.

Peltola, a generic Democrat with a D rating from the NRA, came out of nowhere in this race, rocketing from 10% of the vote in June’s special primary to 39.25% on Aug. 16. And she, the Bethel Yup’ik grandmother with few campaign dollars, is beating the most famous person in Alaska history, who appears to be capped at 31% of the vote. While voters have had an opportunity to mark a ballot for Palin three times this year, she has not been able to move the needle more than four points from the June 11 special primary, when she garnered 27% of the vote.

Nick Begich, who was at 19% for the special primary, has moved the needle to 28%, shrinking the difference between him and Palin from 8% down to 3%. But he remains in third place, where he will be the first to be eliminated in ranked choice counting on Aug. 31.

To win outright with the ballots counted so far, a candidate would have to have 90,098 votes. That ballot universe will shrink when any voter who only picked Begich, and chose no other candidate for second place, sees his ballot exhausted.

For Palin to win at this point in the ranked choice scenario, she would have to close the 8% gap between herself and Peltola, and then get another 11% for a total of more than 19% increase from where she sits now to reach the 50+1 goal.

Palin needs roughly 28,124 more votes to win. Those votes would likely come mostly from Begich voters who marked her second. Based on polling, however, 70% of Begich voters have a negative opinion of Palin.

Peltola, however, needs as few as 19,368 of those second Begich votes to win if every ballot counted so far stays in play (this is unlikely, since the ballot universe shrinks when a ballot has no second choice).

Polls show that between 20-30% of the voters in the special general bullet voted, which means they only voted for one candidate. That indicates the number of Begich ballots that will be exhausted will be 20-30%.

This rough (and dynamic) calculation is based on the current 180,194 people voting; a few more ballots will dribble in over the next few days, but it appears that the ratios are not changing much at this point.

Turnout has been heavy for this election, second only to the 2014 primary, when there were 193,400 votes — a 38% turnout. This year has the second-highest turnout in recent memory, even though it’s only at 30.7% due to the fact that so many people have been automatically registered to vote through the Permanent Fund dividend application automatic registration process, which drives up the voter numbers and drives down the percentage of actual interested voters.

Five precincts are still missing; they are in the rural districts and there’s no word as to where those votes are and whether there is a chain of custody established for them.

The final vote count is on Aug. 31, when all the ballots must have been received by Division of Elections. Then, the Division will eliminate Begich from the calculation and take all the second votes from those ballots and distribute them to what voters had indicated: Palin, Peltola, or nobody. The winning candidate is the one who reaches 50+1 of the ballots that have a second choice.

The Division of Elections will announce more ballot counts on Friday in the afternoon.

38 COMMENTS

  1. Mary voted to end the public employee pension system. Nick with his fierce adds against Palin. And Sarah being Sarah. Do not count Mary out in the general election in November.

  2. Al Gross sent all of his Democrats over to Peltola. Between the top three, Peltola will get by with about 40% of votes cast. Sarah and Nick will get 60% combined. Sarah’s opportunism and hunger for more fame will send the Democrat to a House seat controlled by Republicans for 50 years. Nick was in this race far longer than Sarah. But if there’s any doubt now that Sarah is THE SPOILER,
    you need to be look yourself in the mirror and ask how you let yourself get punked by the biggest scam artist in Alaska politics. I know, because I was punked by her in unholy matrimony. And I didn’t vote for Sarah as #2.

  3. Headline should be:
    “Conservatives shoot selves in foot yet again.” 90,000 votes needed to win. 106,000 conservative vote cast between Palin and Begich. Yet the loser is going to win because we HAND THEM VICTORIES. Someone needs to sit Sara Palin down and tell her her time in the spotlight is over, has been over and please go play with your grandchildren. Vote splitting is the disease that will keep killing us until either the country is destroyed or we put our egos aside and take our enemy seriously.

  4. This speaks to the dem planning which always seems to be a half step ahead of Republicans. They sorted out 1strong candidate and a bunch of non contenders. We have 2 strong candidates which only served to dilute the strength of the strongest and we lose again!! If we had presented 1 strong candidate, this would be over. So, yet again, they win. They got the rules changed, if we don’t work within the bounds of these rules SMARTER, we will never win. We are still trying to play by the old rules.

  5. Peltola will win. Ranked choice was set up for this very scenario. Two Republicans split their votes and you have a Democrat drop out at the last minute so no votes are split making an easy victory. Peltola, like Haaland, is the new face of the Democrats.

  6. What happens if Peltola doesn’t get to the magical 50%+1? I’m pretty sure Palin will close that gap when it goes to the 2nd round but by how much is anyone’s guess.

  7. So do we conclude from the vote totals that if we did NOT have the ranked voting scam in operation, the conservative/Republican candidate would have 106,704 votes to the Democrat’s 70,730 votes ?

    • Palin would have advanced as the Republican nominee from the primary. In prior elections, parties were just able to advance one nominee. – sd

    • The calculation will change once the exhausted ballots are removed. It would not need that many in the smaller vote universe. – sd

    • “I can’t imagine 20,000 Begich voters picking Peltola #2.”
      Reading all the comments on MRA and other media outlets regarding this election, I can’t imagine any Begich voters picking Palin #2. Hatred is a difficult emotion to overcome. It has a consistent ability to destroy oneself. My gut prediction is that about 30% of Begich voters made no #2 pick, 30% picked Peltola, 20% picked Palin, and 10% wrote in Murkowski……..yeah, they’re just that stupid.

  8. Here’s what I find difficult to believe: 70% of Alaskan conservatives hate Palin so much that they’d rather have Peltola in Congress. I do not like Palin AT ALL. But given a choice between her and Peltola, I think Palin is the second choice. Did enough people think that through? I want a conservative in there. Of the two, I preferred Begich. So I voted Begich-Palin-Begich-Palin. Therefore, at least I will NOT contribute a vote to Peltola, and I maximize my chance that my vote goes to a conservative.

    Did others see that?

    • I hate to tell you this, but if you voted Begich-Palin-Begich-Palin, meaning you filled in 2 circles ranking each candidate twice, your vote got tossed! You can only rank a candidate once, meaning one circle filled in. Better start looking into Ranked Choice Voting rules.

    • “…….Did enough people think that through?……..”
      Probably not. People voted in ranked choice voting to begin with. Did they think that through?

  9. So what you are saying is that a large amount of people who voted for Begich would choose Peltola as their second choice.

    What you are leaving unsaid is “what does that say about Begich”.

    Here is what it says. A large portion of Begich voters come from those who lean Democrat.

    • Let me clarify myself: I’m saying a large portion of Begich voters had to have put Palin in as the second choice. I believe conservatives would prefer a conservative in Congress, thus they’d do anything but vote for Palin.

      So let’s say this comes down to Peltola and Palin in the second round. I think a lot of Begich’s voters put Palin down in 2nd place. Thus she will get more of the second round votes. I know my vote is still going to count when we get to round two.

      But after that, my ballot will be exhausted if we go to round 3.

      Is there a lawsuit in there somewhere? Is it not disenfranchisement to throw out voters’ ballots when their votes go to a candidate that has already been eliminated?

    • Let me clarify myself: I’m saying a large portion of Begich voters had to have put Palin in as the second choice. I believe conservatives would prefer a conservative in Congress, thus they’d do anything but vote for Peltola.

      So let’s say this comes down to Peltola and Palin in the second round. I think a lot of Begich’s voters put Palin down in 2nd place. Thus she will get more of the second round votes. I know my vote is still going to count when we get to round two.

      But after that, my ballot will be exhausted if we go to round 3.

      Is there a lawsuit in there somewhere? Is it not disenfranchisement to throw out voters’ ballots when their votes go to a candidate that has already been eliminated?

    • No, most people that I know that voted for Begich put Sarah down as their #2 choice (we did), I believe she will pick up a lot of votes in the 2nd round and hopefully enough to put her over the top,

  10. In reading these comments, there are still many who do not understand how the ranked choice voting works. Peltola is not the clear winner here just because she currently has the most votes. Since Begich is in 3rd place, he will be dropped out, and if those that voted for him chose Palin as their second place, she will then pick up all of those votes. Only way she doesn’t win, is if Begich voters did not select a second place option, or they voted for Peltola for second place.

    • That is correct. The person that the voter chose second will get just those votes. So Begich votes will be distributed to wherever the voters indicated — Palin, Peltola, or no one. – sd

    • Your forgetting one thing. All the fake out of state ballots Pelota is picking up that probably will not get signature verification and will push her over the top. Just like they did with Measure 2, which is why we have this election system debacle in the first place.

  11. Peltola receives a D from NRA for supporting common sense weapon purchase background checks and waiting periods. Most Alaskans support common sense reforms that keep guns away from felons.

    • “Peltola receives a D from NRA for supporting common sense weapon purchase background checks and waiting periods……….”
      I wonder if her Bush constituency (the vast majority of whom live surrounded by federal lands) know that the Biden administration is pushing a ban on lead bullets on federal lands? Think about that for a second, which both the feds and environmental zealots (or you) haven’t done: what else can you use for bullets? Copper? Tungsten? Steel? Good luck with that. And especially for the beloved federal subsistence industry. Or are the feds so outrageously arrogant as to made subsistence hunting exempt from environmental regulation, so their two favorite Alaskan special interest goons won’t destroy each other?

    • Frank,

      You do understand that we have both a prohibition against felons purchasing weapons and federal background checks already, among other prohibitions, under the Federal for 4473, right?

      The argument that weapons sales are a free for all is a constructed mis-truth at worst, and inexcusable ignorance at best.

  12. I still believe Palin will take the victory in round 2. Most everyone I know voted Palin a 2nd choice because that just what she was. The die hard Trumpers voted Palin first choice but I am pretty sure most all others who voted Begich voted Palin as 2nd choice. Hard to even contemplate that many Begich voters would pick Peltola as 2nd – that just defies logic.

    • “……..Hard to even contemplate that many Begich voters would pick Peltola as 2nd – that just defies logic.”
      Reality is becoming increasingly distant from logic. That’s the hatred factor. Watch the final numbers. I’m pretty sure you’ll be quite surprised with just how many Begich voters picked Peltola as 2nd or didn’t cast a 2nd vote. Palin might win, but if so, it will be extremely close.
      And we do this again in November, too.
      So much for “logic”……….

  13. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, RCV was a democrat scam designed to select (instead of elect) a candidate. As Joe Miller pointed out on Moment of Truth, that ballot itself passed under very questionable conditions (mail-in ONLY balloting) with Dominion machines tabulating the results. The sad truth is; 9 of 10 voters have no idea how Ranked Choice Voting works, but don’t want to admit ignorance. They are doing what Einstein described as insanity, that is the same thing over and over, but expecting a different result. You’re playing a game you can’t win, because you allowed the opposition to make the rules!

  14. The really sad part? The three stooges are the next Alaska has to offer.

    Truly, we get the governance we deserve.

  15. Pardon my confusion- is this about the interim for the next two months or who will take Youngs seat for the two years?

  16. Don’t forget that the Write-Ins will also play a role here and could be decisive. There’s a good chance that the Write-Ins will either drop-off entirely or that Peltola was the pick for those folks, which should only further move the needle for her. Sarah Palin needs to pickup at least 58% of the Begich votes to win. If she drops below that threshold because of bullet voting, Peltola wins.

  17. Let’s face it – the Democrats are so much better at rigging elections than the rest of us honest folks. Ranked choice voting is performing just as expected and any Begich voters who didn’t rank the Red have only themselves to blame, although to be honest it probably doesn’t matter when the votes are being tabulated by Dominion software anyway!

    • “……..the Democrats are so much better at rigging elections than the rest of us honest folks……..”
      It appears that RCV is the product of RINOs, who can destroy just as effectively as Democrats.

  18. So much for the myth of strong, independent-minded people in rural Alaska. As long as the entitled crowd keeps getting taxpayer-funded handouts, the bush contingent will keep on voting for phonies like Murkowski and other Dems and RINOs for office. Bring home that “free” bacon folks.

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